Starla wrote, "Having followed your public femulating excursions over the years, it seems like you pretty much either pass, or don't pass, but have positive encounters, all the time. Or so it seems.
"My question is: have you ever had a negative encounter? One in which words were said or glances shot that made you feel uncomfortable and concerned. Maybe even at some point feeling like your safety may be threatened?
"I only ask because almost none of us, no matter how passing we look and/or how confident we feel, has 100% always positive interactions. You may be an exception, but if you have ever had negative encounters, how you handled them could be very instructive for those with far less public experience."
I get referred to as "he" or "him" occasionally and that pisses me off especially if it occurs in a business spending where I am spending my money. At least give the customer the benefit of the doubt! Worst case... I was going to a transgender conference, checking in at the hotel hosting the event. I'm en femme and the woman checking me in at the hotel refers to me as male. The hotel is hosting a trans conference! You would think the staff would have been more supportive. Admittedly, this was in the mid-1990's and folks were not as enlightened about transpeople as they are today.
Being mis-gendered is not a big deal and certainly not life-threatening. I usually don't do anything about it and often times, they correct themselves and switch to female pronouns without me saying anything.
I can recall only two occasions that were very negative encounters.
1) I was staffing my support group's table at the True Colors Conference, which is for LGBT school-age kids. A high school or college aged person with special needs came by and loudly started giving me a hard time about being a "he-she." I was more embarrassed than anything and just tried to ignore him. Ignoring him worked; he finally gave up and went away.
2) After a support group meeting, a bunch of us went to a gay bar which had drag shows. It was located in a seedy section of Hartford. That was back when smoking was still allowed in Connecticut bars. I did not enjoy the thick smoke (it always stunk up my clothes and wigs), so I high-heeled it out of there after 30 minutes or so.
As I exited, a guy started following me, while yelling, "Are you in the show?" mistaking me for one a the drag queens. My car was parked a block away and I walked as fast as I could in heels. My follower followed me about half way and gave up when it was obvious I wanted nothing to do with him. That was very scary. If there was a next time, I would have asked the bar for an escort to my car, but I never went back.
I have been engaging civilians en femme for about 30 years and thankfully, I have had very few bad encounters. I attribute my success to my presentation. Sometimes I may pass, but most of the time, I feel that my presentation is just good enough so that people who have doubts don't dare vocalize their suspicions because (1) they are not sure their suspicions are correct or (2) they are too polite to say or do anything or (3) they don't care (let it be).
|John Ritter femulates on television's Three's Company.|