Mis-gendered in Morrisons. (Sounds like the title of a radio 4 pLAY!). But there i was, just paying for my lottery tickets, and the helpful lady behind the counter who nonetheless wasn’t paying much attention turned to another assistant and asked them to print out a receipt for “the gentleman”.
I smiled: said something along the lines of “its a long time since i’ve been called that”, and moved on. So what? Well, the interesting bit is what came next. First, i could see she was very embarrassed…so much so that i almost regretted saying anything.
Second, as i was cruising the aisles in search of hair accessories (yes: i took on board loads of advice from here, except couldn’t make it into Boots today), she came up to me and apologised profusely. Now i DID feel embarrassed. So we did that very English thing: her apologising to me; my apologising to her for her needing to apologise.
We could have gone on all night.
Next up is a story in today’s Sun. Huh? That’s right: Jackie Green, who underwent grs pretty much the day she turned 18 has entered Miss England and the Sun finally caught wind of that.
Interesting comments against the piece. A small crop of the usual trans-hating: a somewhat larger bunch of just plain nasty stuff about how she “isn’t pretty enough”. From men? From women? Hard to tell.
But its hateful stuff all the same: a bunch of people who don’t seem to care that behind the picture, whether they agree with transgender or not, there is a living breathing person.
But still, both these events, in their way, bring me back to why i believe trans is winning, will win acceptance in the long run.
For just as arguments can rage all night over whether T belongs with L, G and B, ending only with the agreement that when it comes to self-defence, all groups need to stick together, because the bigots don’t make subtle distinctions, so i think that trans women, expecially (and it is at present trans women who come in for more stick, simply by virtue of numbers) have common cause with all women.
Because, at base, it is the same pressure to conform, looks-wise: the same bully policing of anyone who falls out of line; and i believe that women, generally, recognise that.
Take away the few – the radfems and the “womyn for womyn” – and there are tow things in favour of acceptance. First, the fact that women in general do get the need to be oneself: and they are very alive to the emotions of what transition entails.
So, as trans narratives progress beyond the simple surgical (which i admit does fascinate many) and moves into what it feels like to transition, so i suspect the winning of hearts and minds will mostly follow. And, as above, what society has inflicted on cis women for generations, it now inflicts on trans women too. Recognisable common cause.
As for men? Sure, there are the haters: but i was very heartened by the Sun comments. By the one or two, i think from guys, who didn’t just leap in and condemn but finally, finally, admitted: they just don’t get it. But its an individual’s right to do it.
The real trouble is: transphobia so easily hits the headlines. It only takes one or two idiots – the sort of “progressive liberal” representative from Tennessee, who believes the proper response to someone who appears to be trans is to hit them – to create the impression that the entire world wants to eradicate the trans minority.
They don’t. They really don’t. And as they grow to understand, so too comes understanding, bridge-building and acceptance.