Reply To: Called ma’am…….

DeeAnn Hopings


I alway wonder what people look at and draw their perceptions from. And, it obviously varies a lot from person to person.

Los Angeles is about a 2 hour drive from our home. A couple of years ago my wife and I spent a weekend there to visit the Abilities Expo. It is a trade show for the disability community. About midday on the 1st day, my wife and I separated as I was hungry and there was a vendor that she wanted to find. To set the scene, I was dressed in a purple denim button front dress over a light purple tank, wide brim hat, jewelry, full makeup, wedge heels and quite noticeable breast forms. The woman who was serving the food, before I said anything,  addressed me as Sir. While I noted this, I didn’t react as I was too hungry. The next station was a cooler for drinks and last was the cashier station. When I got to the cashier, before I said a word, she said Afternoon Ma’ma. It had only been a few moments between these two interactions, so nothing changed for me, yet it was obvious their perceptions and interpretations were completely different. I could understand it if I looked androgynous, but that is never the case.

Pre-virus I would leave home for meetings, events, errands, etc. 4 to 6 times per week and I was always nicely dressed. Further, if situations were reversed and if there was any question in my mind, I would not used gender-related pronouns. I would be as gender neutral as I could be as it is not my place to decide how someone perceives their gender.

I would guess, on average, that I get mis-gendered 10% of the time; give or take. It would really be interesting to have a conversation with people, but unfortunately that won’t happen…

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