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I fully understand the topic that you presented as it does happen to me also. I am ALWAYS nicely dressed, including makeup, jewelry, heels (nothing outrageous as my arthritic ankle would not allow it anyway), significant breast forms and a hat. The desert is pretty unforgiving regarding wigs, so I wear hats and caps instead. I don’t have much hair, so I do need to cover my head. I don’t carry a purse, but I do carry a backpack. When I go out, I take a cane. The backpack (all of mine are leather) allows me to free up a hand and is an easy way to carry my iPhone, iPad, masks, keys, tissues, etc.
I have posted some public photos on this site and I believe my presentation to be quite reasonable. At 73 some might question my short skirts, but again, it is the desert. In early May we already have temperatures from the mid-90s’s to the low 100’s.
I get misgendered roughly 25% of the time. I can understand it when I speak as I haven’t done any voice training. However, I do wonder what people are looking at when they misgender me before I speak. That is really curious to me.
One thing I have noticed is that when I am misgendered, it is often by someone from the Latinx community. Romance languages are strongly gendered, so perhaps that comes into play. Also, the fact that many are deeply rooted in the Catholic faith may also come into play. I am not sure exactly what is going on, but these factors may have some influence in what happens.
I’ll relate a story that occurred a few years back:
Before the virus hit, my wife and I attended the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles. It is a trade show concentrating on the disability community. My wife suffered a spinal cord injury about 14 years ago and she uses a wheel chair. I had a mild stroke about 5 years ago and my mobility is a bit compromised. We were at the Expo for a few hours and I decided that I needed to eat something. There was a pop-up food area where they were doing burgers, hot dogs, fries, etc. My wife went to find a wheel chair cushion vendor that she wanted to see and I went to stand in line.
Again, I was nicely dressed: purple denim mid-length dress unbuttoned at the top with a light lavender tank top underneath, makeup, silver jewelry, a black hat, significant breast forms, black patent leather sling back wedge heels and feminine looking glasses. When it was my turn in line, the cook (a middle aged Latina) said: “What may I get for you, sir?”. I usually don’t react in any particular way, and this time I chose not to. On those occasions when I do react, I will say “Excuse me?” or say “Hmmm?” as I twist my head a little bit. That is usually enough to make folks reconsider their words. I did this once to a young woman who was a cashier in a restaurant. In spite of the fact that I never raise my voice during any of these incidents, she was so rattled that she redid the math for my bill 3 times!?!?
Anyway, back to the Expo. I didn’t react as I just didn’t want to invest the energy. I moved through the area and got a drink and chips. The cashier, also a Latina but in her 30’s, was about 15 feet away from where the cook was stationed. When it was my turn with the cashier, she said: “Good afternoon, ma’am.”. I had to chuckle to myself a bit as it seemed that I had changed genders in the space of 15 feet! It was a miracle! If only I had known that it was this easy!
I do know a few trans people who get really upset if they are misgendered. In the situation I recounted above, I didn’t perceive any egregious intent and that is almost always the case. To me that didn’t warrant any aggressive reaction on my part. On the other hand, it does make me wonder exactly what people are looking at and what their thought process is. I am not a large person at 5’-9” (at 73 I’ve probably shrunk a bit!) although that would be about 4” taller than the average female. I don’t have broad shoulders. My bra band size is 38”. All together, it is a mystery to me how I am thought of as male before I speak, but it is what it is. Anyway, the important thing is that I want you to know that you are not alone.
For a bit of housekeeping, I encourage you to complete your Profile page. It really helps other members understand your situation, difficulties, goals, etc. The page will always be readily available and can be updated at any time.
You may search for other members in your area by clicking on Social in the menu and then Member Directory…