He, She, It?

“It”, of course, is what the dim-witted kids and occasional transphobe I meet whilst out and about hurl at me. You get accustomed to insult and after a while, you learn to shrug and walk on by.

“She” is what I am called at home, by friends, and increasingly by those who deal with me regularly. I think…I hope…that this says something about how I come across and what I project, as opposed to my ability to wear clothes and make-up in sufficiently persuasive fashion to enable me to “pass”.

And “he” is what is still get in far too many places. Today, f’rinstance, I was out shopping and…one assistant happily chatted to me as Jane: used my name, that is. Another, however, chipped in from the sidelines with a comment about “he” did so-and-so.

Do I mind? Well, no. And yes. I said at the outset that I was not going to aim for “passing” as some abstract objective: either it happened or it didn’t. I said the same sort of thing recently to my gender specialist, and he commented about how it helped and how some people found it useful.

Dunno. For me, there is a subtle difference between expending too much energy and angst on aiming for something that feels nigh on impossible: and liking that result when it does happen. I’m a bit like that with slimming: I diet…but don’t focus on the minutiae of the process.

So anyway. Being “she”, being addressed as “ma’am”, all that stuff: it puts a spring in my step and makes me feel very up. Whereas “he” just clumps like lead in my day.

Leading to the obvious question: should I ask? Should I mention? Or should I stay schtum and like it when people get it right?



5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Demelza said,

    I refer the honourable member to the answer I gave some days ago https://janefae.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/when-in-doubt-ask/#comments

    Just a gentle “It’s madam, please”. Those who simply are inexperienced with serving T-folk should immediately correct themselves. If they persist then it is wilful, and they should be ignored.

  2. 2

    I tend to ignore it these days – although partially, that’s because being misgendered as par for the course as a woman in an Army uniform, trans or cis. Last time it happened, someone else actually corrected the person who made the error.

  3. 3

    Stace said,

    I guess that it would come down to how important it is to you… It clumps like lead. Does that mean that it sits as a knot in your stomach for the day, or it drops off quickly?

    Would you feel worse correcting someone, than just letting it lie? Having not yet put myself in that situation I’ve no idea how I will eventually react.

    Good luck,

  4. 4

    Also Jane said,

    I actually think that whether you want to pass or not is a measure of whether your gender identity is truly feminine, assuming you are MtF. I have one or two friends who are not too bothered whther they pass, and who are happy to identify as ‘trans’ whatever that means. If that makes them happy, fine.

    Not me. I identify as feminine not trans, and see the male body as an inconvenience to be altered as far as is humanly possible to a female one. In short I just want to be a woman and get on with my life.

    So it bugs me when I get called ‘he’ or ‘sir’. It happens quite rarely now; and it is usually old friends who do it, not strangers (except on the phone).

    Therefore I’m afraid I see no dilemma in setting ‘passing’ as a sine qua non of transsexual life. The considerable effort required is a necessary evil to me.



  5. 5

    […] Tagged essentialism, passing, peception Well, I could have added some replies to comments to the last piece, but I think that some of the points raised were sufficiently interesting or important to make it […]

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