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 worth going for it separately.
First off, to those who say that they tell others how they’d like to be addressed: I totally agree. If someone goes “sir” to me, now – as opposed to “Ma’am” – chances are I will correct them politely but firmly. But then, that’s a title thing and implicit in the word title is the adjective “courtesy”.
You use titles out of courtesy, to make people feel good and to oil communication: so not much point addressing me with a word that makes me feel constantly uncomfortable.
However, my original post was about use of pronouns, and here I would draw a distinction. Maybe it’s a nit-picking distinction that others wouldn’t make. I dunno. Because whether someone sees me as “he” or “she” is one of those “essentialist” things. Its ineffably tied up with whether I project “maleness” or “femaleness” – and whether I am perceived mostly according to one or other of those characteristics.
Is it for me to ask – or even demand – that others perceive me in a given way? Personally, I’d say not. My attitude to the entire process – including “passing” is that it is something that will happen in its own due time.
I respect other trans individuals who expect their identified gender to be acknowledged. But intriguingly, over the last year, as I have started to treat people according to perceived gender, there have been some trans individuals who do, some who don’t, feel as though their claimed gender belongs to them.
Interestingly, I am starting to get the same sense with cis individuals. There are some cis women who feel very much male, some cis guys who feel female. And so on.
Think Emperor’s new clothes and kids: the most honest judges of whether people pass or not are often the children, since they operate according to what they see or feel – not according to what they should see or feel.
Now to the post that most interested. Another Jane, who writes that in her view “whether you want to pass or not is a measure of whether your gender identity is truly feminine, assuming you are MtF”.
Oh. Not in my book, so I shall politely disagree. I really hope, in time, that I will “pass”. But I do think that the striving to pass is actually counter-productive. As I suggested before, its like dieting. So long as I eat sensibly and don’t obsess, I lose weight. The moment I start to over-focus on eating, I end up not dieting.
So with passing. Right now, I find it hard to believe I ever will. Yet more and more friends suggest I am starting to. I don’t think I shall ever TRY to pass: but I hope the day will come when I do. Another subtle difference.