Earlier this week, I spent the day with a trans person for the first time. Evan* had a male name, evidence of facial hair that had been shaved and answered to a daughter’s call of “Daddy”. However, Evan also had a high voice, beautiful long hair and was dressed much more femininely than I with make-up, a colorful purse and super high heels.
Our interactions were wonderful and interesting, but I felt confused because I didn’t know what Evan’s gender preference was and I didn’t know if it was polite to ask. I found my mind needing to ‘make sense’ of the situation and compartmentalize into the male and female categories particularly when deciding what pronouns to use.
I also found myself stumbling over lunch. Evan’s daughter was writing a story book where each person writes a single page for the next person to take over. The story was about a fairy and a fox, and I wanted to know whether to write “Mr. Fox” or “Mrs. Fox” in my part of the story.
I asked the child “Is the fox a boy or a girl or…?” My voice trailed off. Realizing that I might be being insensitive, I quickly added “Or maybe it doesn’t matter at all” and changed the subject.
I know that some people use “Ze” as a generic pronoun instead of “She” or “He”, but that hasn’t really caught on. Have other people been in semi-awkward situations like this, or am I just outing myself as a newbie to interactions like these?
On an unrelated note, here are two more fashion-related photos that I snapped while cruising around San Fran:
*Name has been changed.
posted by ayo