The last couple of weeks I have actually been leaving the house more, mostly to pick up things we need or for work. That being said, it is taking me a bit to get used to people looking at me publicly. I didn’t realize how much more armor had softened during that time, but already I am back hardening it again. Although I do want to say not all encounters have been bad.
The first encounter was when the hubby and I went to Joanne’s for his sewing project. A couple of the workers gave me the normal taken aback, but not in a bad way. This never bothers me. I was dressed up, and for the first time ever I was wearing an outfit that a person could see my belly. In my entire life, I had never worn something like this, unless I was just shirtless for swimming when I was a teen.
I felt good about how I looked but was a little self-conscious. We got in line at the checkout, and an older-looking lady was in front of us. She was from the small town of Roy and had many chickens. We knew this because she went in-depth with the cashier about chickens and eggs, and just the way she talked I was sure we would see a MAGA sticker on her vehicle. Not a screaming, spitting MAGA, but rather one of the more “I voted for him because I am a conservative white woman” things.
She kept glancing back at me; I knew this would go poorly. That is when she turned around and showed me a pattern she had, and she told me that I would look better in it and that I should wear that kind of skirt with my shirt. At the time I was wearing jeans with my shirt; I was definitely a little alternative-looking but having someone step into my space to tell me I would look better in something else completely took me aback.
To be clear, I am sure she meant it in what she would consider a kind way, and it very well may have been an attempt to be nice to the “transgendering woman,” but it also came off as very patronizing. I saw the hubby immediately get spikey, but he didn’t say anything (when she turned around he did flip her off though, which the cashier just snickered at). The hubby reassured me that I looked good, and we both agreed she may have been trying to be nice. This is also where I learned that in general, even non-trans women have this happen. He told me a couple of stories he went through long before transitioning himself.
I wasn’t hugely upset, mostly confused and worried that maybe I looked bad. By the time we got home, I wasn’t too worried about it, but it was just a weird situation overall. Also, we both realized that while she looked much older than us, she was probably our age or at least close. That was also weird.
The second incident went the exact opposite way I was expecting. I was going to an agency I was auditing that was downtown. I wore a cute short skirt with leggings and a nice top with Doc Martin boots. I felt like I was looking pretty good.
I ended up parking a good distance from the agency and walking. It was a hot summer day, and there was a construction crew I had to walk past. As I walked closer, I saw all the guys chatting and glancing at me. I know for a fact several of the guys were staring at my tits (at 38H I don’t blame them, that is partially why they are that size) and I can’t be sure but I think one was watching my butt. Weirdly enough there is some affirmation from it but in a weird way.
As I walked past them though they got quiet as if they didn’t want me to hear what they were saying (as if it wasn’t obvious from 3 blocks away). Yep I knew shit was coming, but I couldn’t tell if it would be just sexist shit or sexist trans shit, or just trans shit talking.
I braced myself as I walked by, but was surprised. The largest guy, probably in his late 40s/early 50s yelled out “I like your boots.” Immediately the first thought it was probably a comment about how my mom wears combat boots, a stupid insult from the 80s about having gay dads and you being gay. I almost just flipped him off, but something stopped me, and I glanced at him. He was just giving me a real smile and nodded his head. He had that quiet, Pacific Northwest look of trying to be supportive in his weird way.
I have to admit I wasn’t expecting what appeared to be a real compliment from someone with a construction worker group. I must have smiled at him because he immediately relaxed. I hadn’t realized he was worried or tense about my reaction. I yelled thank you, waved at him, turned, and walked past.
It must have tripped a switch with the guys because when I walked back past them when I was done, they were joking, watching me but very much like I have seen and done with ciswomen before I transitioned. While the sexism is a bit annoying, I just smiled and was happy that I didn’t get yelled trans slurs or something worse by a group of construction workers. I hadn’t seen that coming.
It gave me a little bit more hope that while I will never be a silent passing trans girl (I couldn’t maintain that cover even if I did pass) that maybe there are enough people in the Pacific Northwest that my life will be better socially, and not just mentally from the transition.
So I had a mostly negative and a mostly positive encounter, I figure that gets me a net positive considering how negative the world and news have been lately 🙂