I had a lovely holiday – Will and I ate, drank, walked, drank and ate our way around those bits of the West Country we could easily get to by train. The hotel was…well, what we expected for the money, and the people were very friendly. All of the hotel staff warmed to those nice girls in room 218, and everywhere I went in Bristol and surrounds, I got used to hearing myself referred to as ‘her’. ‘she’ and one of ‘the girls’. Did I say anything? Nope. Did I want to? Of course! But to what end?
Admittedly I probably should have said something the first time the receptionist at the hotel made a friendly reference to ‘her’ when talking to Will about me. But honestly, I was on holiday, and lacked the emotional energy and political drive to go into the ‘actually, it’s him’ routine. Same at the Cider Shop, in the Co-op, and in numerous pubs and eateries. Would I have gained anything (well, apart from being correctly gendered, obviously!) from correcting them? Maybe I’d have stopped them making assumptions about future guests/customers? Or just made things a bit awkward?
I don’t like making a fuss, but I will move mountains to make a point if it’s needed. This week, I guess, I just decided that my masculinity wasn’t at any sort of risk by being called the wrong thing. As my lovely counsellor puts it, ‘you know who you are’, and whilst being called ‘she’ and a girl in a strange place where I may never go again sucks, it didn’t make me any less the person I am.
So how do I avoid being misgendered? Well, I dress to suit my gender, have a not-quite-buzz-cut, have no breasts, pack, and have embryonic stubble. Granted, I don’t try to adopt sterotypically ‘masculine’ traits, or gait, but I’m damned if I’ll become a caricature.
Will and I have come up with a cunning plan, though. Check out the photo below – that was me 4 years ago. Now look at the picture taken a few days ago, and tell me I look like a ‘she’? Clearly I need to get me a life-sized cardboard cutout, and carry it round so that people can compare and contrast
Oh, and to the guy begging by the docks who said ‘Thank you, Sir!’ when I slipped him some change, thank YOU. It balanced out a lot of those “she’s”.