TBB was in a HVAC shop with a shopping list of fittings she needed for a refrigeration job.
The fellow behind the counter saw her, but as TBB went down the list, she saw his view change.
“Thank you, sir,” he said cordially after ringing up the purchase. Something in the demeanour or authority set his view.
TBB walked out of the shop wondering what she did wrong. Was it the voice, the fact her blonde hair was mostly tucked under her cap, or something else?
As TBB got into the car, a gentleman on the street greeted her.
“Has anyone told you how beautiful you look today?” he said with a big grin.
TBB flashed a broad smile and thanked him for the compliment, as he continued into the shop she had just left.
“I find those experiences where my gender shifts in a moment disconcerting,” I said as she told me the story.
“So do I,” she agreed. “It means you always have to be aware of how other people see you in order to be who they expect you to be. You have to be always primed for that moment of change, holding on or staying defended.”
We divide humans by sex almost instantly, and our responses are bound to that reading. Surprise someone and they can get thrown easily, often blaming you for their own fluster.
“I can’t rely on how people see me,” TBB said, and I knew just what she meant.
“The saddest part, though, is that it means I can’t rely on being a woman in relationship.”
“It means that I can’t top from the bottom, can’t just be feminine. It means I can’t just open my heart and let the energy flow.”
Sad. Sad indeed.