I am a transgendered female. I understand that many people feel some confusion or ambiguity about my gender expression but that is their issue, not mine. Trying to get by in the world is mine, and it’s a big one, thank you very much; I don’t have time or inclination to own someone else’s problem. “If you’re curious, ask. If you’re polite, I’ll probably answer” has been a standing policy with me for some time now, and I’ve had some good moments because of it. Strange looks and odd things muttered to the people they are with are commonplace around me, so much so that I mostly just tune it out. But this went above and beyond:
Today, at Wheaton Metro, in the tunnel near the bus bays, a group of five or six young men was loitering near the wall of the tunnel entrance. Always being alert to safety issues, I was keeping an eye on them, but they weren’t gearing up to move or anything, so I wasn’t too worried. Just as my daughter and I passed, one of them said loudly, to his peers, “Is that a man, or a woman, y’all?”
I weighed the pros and cons of answering, and decided not to; their superior numbers, the astonishing regularity of violence against transfolk, and the fact that I could not and would not rely on any Metro staff or strangers to help me, had me just continue on like I’d not heard it. But my daughter and I were both angered and hurt.
Look, I realize that a lot of people don’t “get” gender-identity issues. I didn’t, for a long time, until it became clear that it *was* my issue. And I realize that I am not an attractive woman, very much. Fair enough. But comments like that are just rude and dehumanizing. Underneath the sometimes-confusing appearance of a transperson (particularly a new one), is a person who is undergoing some heavy-duty struggles; don’t make it worse, okay? I don’t ask that anyone accept my decision to transition, or endorse it in any way–just give me the respect that is due to any adult human.
Thanks, Holla Back DC!, for creating a place where it’s safe to say, “Don’t do that, please!” It’s empowering, and it’s been good to read the stories of others who have said ENOUGH!
Submitted by DRB on 4/24/2010
Location: Wheaton Metro
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