(1) I was traveling for a conference about a month ago, and as I walked to a city bus stop early on the morning of my departure, out of nowhere in an otherwise quiet city street a woman started to yell at me.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Look at you, you little red faced man. You think you’re a man. You ain’t a man! You just think you are! You’re a fucking faggot. A fucking little red-faced faggot…”
Thankfully she was walking past, never came within 10 yards of me, and quickly moved on to another target.
I did what I generally do in situations like this (and I’ve been in them before). I stayed impassive, kept moving as if I did not see or hear her, while still giving her a wide berth and scanning my surroundings to make sure I wasn’t moving in a riskier direction (was she alone? She was. Had other people noticed what was going on? They had and were shaking their heads but not looking too worried).
This woman was obviously dealing with either mental health or drug issues (or both), but wow, was she perceptive. In those few seconds, she’d sized me up pretty well, instantly honing in on my weakness (Including one of my top complaints about my appearance — I hate how red my face gets!). As I got to the bus stop, now surrounded by calm early morning travelers, and my heart began to slow, I realized this was a strange moment of arrival.
She’d called me a faggot. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but never a faggot. Someone who clearly had impressive powers of perception, who took one look at me on the street and launched into yelling the most hurtful things she could think of, had not seen a woman. She’d seen a funny little man.
(2) I spend time on social networking like everyone else. The ever-increasing ads on FB drive me nuts, their privacy policies are awful and I could tell FB knew I was trans before I was out based on the ads on my sidebar (which is creepy), but I still go there.
Almost immediately after changing gender on my profile, the ads started to be appealing to me. Not all the ads (I’m unlikely to become a sperm donor for instance), but I noticed the ones that popped up for clothes, or for bike things, or shoes. Never before had ads shown up that I actually wanted to click on. Now? I have to actively try not click on them.
It is strange to realize that part of the reason it was easy to ignore the ads before was that they were targeting me as a woman, and that this was true long before I was even close to being out to myself. Once ads are targeted to me as a man? Turns out I’m not so impervious to marketing. Thus far, I haven’t bought anything, but man, I really want some of those nice looking bike pants that are miraculously suitable to keep wearing once you get to work. I hadn’t even known about those before!
I already knew that I was not fully participating in the world before, that I am so much more present living as I am. But now I can see that the world was not fully participating with me (for good or ill — I can’t say that being bombarded with more effective marketing is really a a perk).
(3) Several weeks ago Leigh said to Gail “What did I used to call Aba?”
Gail said, “Do you really not remember? And do you really want to know?” Leigh paused, and said she really did not remember and that yes, she really did want to know.
Gail: “You called him Mama.”
Leigh: “I forgot all about that.”