Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New Sanity Plan

Every day this week at lunch, I had to run errands to hardware or home center stores. And every day this week at lunch someone has ma'amed me during an interaction. Despite me wearing my usual office / IT casual clothing (think: jeans, athletic shoes, men's long sleeved, cotton broadcloth shirt worn untucked/tunic style). It's amazing how much that helps to get me through the week.

Another thing that helps is I'm going to a trans conference! Well, it's a transgender-orientated day at a community center with speakers, lunch and a meet up at a local coffee/beer place afterward. I'm both excited and a bit nervous about being back with "my people". I haven't talked with another trans person face-to-face since I first started transitioning and went to the last of a few support meetings, maybe eight years ago.

Oh, did I mention I'm an Aspie and social events tend to be really awkward for me?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Rather Mundane Update, In a Good Way

Let's see...a week after the field trip I was returning to my car after dropping off my child for school when the teacher who'd organized & chaperoned the trip caught me in the parking lot. She said, "I just wanted you to know you look a LOT better as your true self". To which the only thing I could reply was, "You're going to make me cry in the parking lot!" (then I thanked her and we laughed. She has a nonbinary teen and understands).
This last weekend, I went over to my folks' place to do some minor kitchen remodeling so they could replace a countertop stove top with a free standing range. I was expecting to fall into a funk since I was right back to doing the sort of thing (construction/remodeling) my dad used to think would bond us as father and son. And although they called me [birthname] and referred to me as "son" to each other, I'm okay. I think because I'd planned ahead, knowing this weekend was going to be that way. And, I made sure that I didn't just throw in the towel completely by wearing my old male "project" clothes. Instead I did what my younger sis does when she does remodeling / construction; I wore my least favorite clothes (that fit my gender) but still wore makeup. And made it through with my psyche unscathed.

I'm glad I did, as when I got home and parked on the street I saw our neighbor talking with someone. As I was getting out of the vehicle with the vintage-but-new stainless steel (no teflon!) electric wok my mom gave me, our neighbor called me over to meet the woman who'd moved in across the street this past week. The three of us introduced ourselves and chatted for a few minutes. It was nice, and just...normal. And yes, my voice was good. I'm more often than not reaching the point where I don't know if people are politely (or in a friendly way) just accepting me as a trans woman because we're trendy, or if they really see me for who I am. I can find no indication either way, nor can my spouse when they are present.

Anyway, a new work week starts tomorrow. Back to being [birthname] for 7 hrs a day, and back to wearing a binder and the incredibly distracting back, neck and headaches it induces. But it WAS a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sexism rant

Note to self: Don't wear a light, clingy sweater to the hardware store ever again.

I went down to our local Ace hardware store to get extra copies of the key to our front door. Seemed simple enough & the store is supportive of local LGBT groups among many others. The man at the key counter took a look at my key and began to expound greatly on the various key blanks and finally, finally got around to telling me that they stopped cutting that particular one because it is curved and won't stay in the new key cutting machine. All while looking mostly at my chest. I'm not large breasted; in fact I'm fairly small in that area, but I try to dress with some eye to looking coordinated and reasonably not-too-far-out-of-fashion for a middle aged woman.  Thing is, it was a slightly warm day with a cool breeze so I wore a light blue & white light sweater that I love and was excited about finding. Super comfortable, with a not-deep-at-all V-neck. And the guy made me feel like an object.

So then I asked if they carried lock sets, something with a five-inch backset. "Backset" is the distance between the edge of the door and the center of the doorknob. Standard is 2-3/8 or 2-3/4 so it's not always easy to find one to fit older doors. Well, Mr. Keyman clearly didn't believe I could possibly know anything about doors, so he began to explain to me what exactly a backset is, and how important it is to match the backset of the door to the lock set. Then another older clerk sees us, looks at me for a moment too long...and he comes over to "help". He explained that there are two different brands, Kwik-set and Schlage, and - "now this is important" - they are not compatible with each other. Then he went on for what seemed like forever explaining how you can't just take the doorknob of one brand and use it with the latch (the part that slides back and forth inside the door) of the other brand. Because "one has a square hole and the other, a round hole". All while scoping me out with a weird smile and being, well, creepy.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking to myself, "I've probably hung more doors and replaced more locks than both of you and the third old guy now walking over - that just looked me up and down - more than all of you put together. Please just show me where the five inch latches are so I can go".  They only sell Kwik-set at that store by the way, so as long as I found something with a five-inch backset I would be okay, no need to worry about brands even if the packages weren't clearly marked. Finally I said, "Sooo, I need this latch (removing the five inch backset one from the pegboard) and this doorknob (taking one off the pegboard) and I should be okay" and walked up to the register. What could have taken two minutes of my day wasted nearly ten and made me feel bad.

I'm not beautiful. I'm not sexy. I'm not bragging about my looks; I've lost weight and grown out my hair. And I'm learning the art and craft of makeup. I got lucky with my facial bones, but I'm not done ridding my face of whiskers. And I'm re-learning how to dress myself at midlife. I think I'm doing pretty good at blending in with the less flashy suburban moms, at least at first glance. So it wasn't like some goddess walked into the store, just me. And the store was moderately busy. Also, younger people clock me on a fairly regular basis so this isn't some passing-brag either. I was just a piece of woman-meat younger than them. Any would do, apparently.

When I was living all the time as a man, I thought I was aware of sexism when guys displayed it or enacted it, or whatever. I had no idea. I still love that sweater, and I'm still going to wear it, and others. But I am a tiny bit more aware now of just how far we have to go as a society.