Tuesday, 3 June 2014

"Are you a dude?"

And my technicolour bag threw off the whole outfit!
Grrr. Some day I'm going to invest in a black purse.
I was walking to the bank yesterday, about two blocks from my house. I had decided to femme it up a bit with a tunic, tights and silly high heels.

"Excuse me, ma'am?" said a guy at a bus stop as I waked by. When I didn't stop he continued, somewhat more urgently, "ma'am? Excuse me, ma'am!"

Suddenly I realized he was addressing me. "Uh, yeah?"

He gave me a story about not having enough money for the bus and asked if I had any change to spare. For the record, I'm pretty conflicted about giving alms to panhandlers. I'm sure it does nothing to treat the actual causes of poverty and often just enables bad habits, but at the same time I find it really hard to say no when I'm asked. For better or worse, I gave him a dollar. (Incidentally, I feel like I get panhandled more often when I'm presenting as a woman. Is that, like, a thing, or am I just imagining it?)

As soon as I started talking to him I saw a look of confusion cross his face, slowly replaced by one of dawning realization. Afterwards, as I was turning to leave, he asked me, very straightfowardly: "are you a dude?" Phrased more politely, this might have been: what gender(s) do you identify with? And that, of course, is precisely what I'm trying to figure out myself.

To borrow a line from The Lord of the Rings, that question "needed a week's answer, or none." I chose the latter option: I gave him a smile, said "maybe!", and continued on my way.

This exchange confirmed two things for me that I'd previously suspected. It confirmed that I do pass as female, at a glance, at least some of the time. And it confirmed that I'm quickly read as male if someone's actually paying attention to me, and especially if I'm talking to someone face to face.

Oh well. As much as part of me would like to pass all the time, the good thing about not passing is it means being visibly trans, which helps raise awareness that people like us do, in fact, exist in the real world.


  1. I remember the first few times I was addressed as "miss" were very disconcerting - particularly since I was dressed as a boy. Or so I thought, anyway. lol I've been full-time for six-plus months now, but I'm still getting used to the fact that others do, in fact, see me as a woman.

    I was on an elevator recently, going to the top (20th) floor with three other people. When it arrived and the door opened, I wondered why no one was moving - until it dawned on me that the other occupants were men. They were waiting for me to exit first! Oops. :c)

    Anyway, you look very cute in the photo. I'm surprised you were taken as a male, actually. I suspect that will change as your confidence increases.

    == Cass

    P.S. Also, to answer your question: yes, I think women *do* get approached more often than men. That's been my experience...

    1. Thanks Cass! :) To be honest though, I probably look a lot more passable in photos then I do in real life.