So today I was talking with a family member that I don’t see very often. For some reason, the subject of attractions came up, which has been coming up more and more lately, without my doing. Normally, I would rather people ask me questions, but this experience has totally changed my feelings about that.
Him: Are you romantically attracted to guys?
Him: Not at all? What about women?
At this point he starts going on about gay rights, so I tell him that I don’t consider myself gay because I identify as male and the word for that would be transgender.
His reaction: But you’re so feminine! You really are very feminine! I don’t see you as masculine at all! (Keep in mind – I wear men’s clothes, have a short haircut, play sports, don’t shave my legs, etc. Not that I’m one for stereotypes or gender roles, but you get the point.)
On a side note – if you a reading this, NEVER comment on a transperson’s gender expression. Unless you know them really well, 9 times out of 10 it comes across badly.
Here are a few bad examples:
1. “Wow, you look really masculine today!”
– Really? Well what did I look like yesterday? Or the day before that?
2. “I saw you in the corner of my eye and you definitely looked like a guy!”
– I don’t just look like a guy. I am a guy, dammit.
3. “I met a person that was trans once. I know everything you’re going through…”
– ...now let me continue misgendering you and while I’m at it let me tell you how jealous I am that you’re not going to have periods.
As a general rule, if you wouldn’t say it to a cisgendered person, don’t say it to a transperson.
Anyway, back on point –
Not only did my extended family member comment profusely on my femininity, he proceeded to talk about a transguy he’d met:
Him: I knew someone that was transgender. She got the sex change operation and everything. She got her boobs taken off! You wouldn’t want to do that, would you? She even got a penis.
Him: What?? Would you want to get a penis?
Me: (mumbling something about the limitations of technology) That’s actually kind of a personal question. And your friend would be he, not she, riiight?
Him: She was a she, but then she got the operation. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.
Me: Then I’m not going to answer.
– insert awkward silence –
It got more mortifying, but for the sake of not discussing other people’s matters too much, I’ll cut it off here.
Also keep in mind, that this is smack in the middle of a restaurant. I have never been so mortified. At this point I start panicking about coming out at school this year and what my coach is going to say and if people are going to understand at all. I start envisioning people being totally confused and misgendering me and start dwelling on the fact that nobody in my life except the wonderful people at a youth LGBT group actually calls me by the correct pronouns.
Then I remember that even if the whole world is against me I still have my immediate family. I love my sister to death and am so grateful that my parents accept me. It means so much. When I survive this crazy August of coming out to everyone it’ll be because of them.