I can't tell you how often I have the pleasure of hearing golden nuggets of advice from friends and family, with precious little gems like "don't let them get to you" and "why do you always take everything to heart" get tossed at me at least once a week, none of which winds up being all that useful. While I'll admit that most of the stuff that happens to me on any given day is minor, the never ending series of jabs does tend to add up. Imagine grains of sand on a strip of sandpaper. Alone, they're pretty harmless but added together, they will eventually wear away even the hardest stone. After reading two separate blogs based on the "A Day In The Life Of An Angry Transsexual" concept found here, I've decided to write one of my own. It's basically a compilation of actual experiences I have had to deal with over the past year.
A Day in the Life of an Middle-age Trans Woman
I reluctantly roll out of bed after being jarred awake by an alarm clock blaring nearby. Once dressed, I sit in front of my laptop with breakfast and proceed to scan through the latest Google alerts for anything of interest. Most of the morning offerings revolve around the beautiful Jenna Talackova, who was booted out of the Miss Universe pageant for supposedly lying about her gender on her entry form (four years after SRS, she lists it as "F", which seems correct to me). I count two dozen such articles, most referring to Jenn as "he" or "male" at least once. After skimming through an article on how the DADT repeal did nothing to help the plight of our trans soldiers, I finish my coffee and leave to catch the train.
Upon arriving at the station, I of course have to make a quick stop to the restroom (thanks to all these lovely drugs I'm taking). Slowly entering, a sigh of relief escapes my lips when I realize that I am alone. A few minutes later, as I'm fixing my hair in preparation to walk out to the train, an older woman steps into the restroom. Walking past, she stares intently at me. I collect up all the crap I've pulled out to play with, shove it all back into my purse and leave in silence.
At the station platform, I join a conversation between the platform conductor (who I have now known for about five months) and a few of the "regulars". While we talk about the pending opening of a new station, the conductor refers to me as "he" multiple times. I glare at him, thankful that at least he was able to remember my name today (he refers to me as "Kate", which I am fine with). A few minutes later, the train arrives and we all board.
Stop after stop, I watch as passengers walk past my open seat in favor of ones further back. As I sit alone, I begin to wonder if there are any other trans people on the train.. or even in the station, and if they also have to sit alone. At the next stop, a woman I've made friends with previously boards and sits down next to me... balancing out the car, finally. We discuss an article in the magazine she's brought, about how it's wrong to let female-identified trans people into women's restrooms titled "What about the Children?" She says that even though she believes that trans women should be treated the same as cis-women, she agrees that maybe it would be safer if we were to use unisex restrooms. I shrug, not wanting to get into it.
As I'm walking across the train station, two young men make cat-calls to the "hey you, giant tranny". I can only assume they mean me, but I don't even bother looking at them. A few minutes later, a homeless women on the sidewalk outside the station looks me right in the eye says, "Sir, can you spare some change?" Looking away, I walk right past her without stopping. A block further down, an older homeless man asks, "Mister, can you spare a dollar?" I ignore him too. When I get to the Macy's storefront, the pedestrian traffic doubles. As I step onto the sidewalk here, I catch sight of two men standing just to my right. I look over just as the taller of the two looks right at me and says, "Man, there are alot of freaks on the street today." His buddy cackles, so I answer back "about the assholes on the street this morning" without missing a step. A moment later, I reach my office.
I step off the elevator onto my floor, and as I pass several co-workers I give them morning greetings. Three of the men I pass will not so much as make eye contact with me. Because of my job, I have to interact with everyone in the office on a daily basis, but conversations with these two often end abruptly when I am involved.
For lunch, I meet up with several of the girls from reception and we all walk down the street to one of the many restaurants on the strip. Along the way, I have a half a dozen tourists take my picture.. as though I'm one of the stops on their tour. At one point, I consider asking if anyone wants my autograph, but decide not to push it. One of the many homeless guys on the street asks me if I'm dressed like this because I lost a bet. "Like what?" I reply, and shrug. Lunch is uneventful, but the walk back to the office includes many more unwanted photos. It never ceases to amaze me how just my just walking down the street can be so interesting to so many people.
During a program deployment (I am a software engineer by trade), I get into a headed argument with the database administrator assigned to my project. Multiple times, I am referred to as "he" and "him". After everything is sorted out, I report him to management. He knows better than to be doing that kind of thing.
Just before I leave for the train, Mom calls. She still insists on using my birth name (when I had legally changed over a year ago) and still calls me "her son" and the like. I spend all of two minutes trying to redirect the conversation to how I have transitioned and I live and work as "Kathy" now. She gets upset and hangs up. Not exactly what I'd call "unconditional love."
As I am strolling down the sidewalk on my way to the train station, a man walks up beside me and grabs my arm. He them proceeds to make lude suggestions involving he and I having sex in various nearby locations. When I tell him no thanks and ask that he leave me alone, he practically drags me along with him. He tells me how he has always wanted to be spanked by a tranny and remarks about all of the great things he has in his basement. I get dragged a total of four blocks before I get free of the man and manage to duck into a nearby subway entrance. As I descend into the subway lower level, I remark to myself how shocking it was that even on a crowded sidewalk in broad daylight, not one person stopped to help me.
Walking across the subway lower level, I pass a small group of people loitering against one wall. After I pass, I hear loud laughing coming from that direction. As I turn, I see a woman in the group laughing loudly and proclaiming as loudly as she can "That's a man! That's a man!" I stand there in disbelief, glaring at her. When she finally realizes I am still there, she pretends to be laughing at someone else. One of the guys in the group proceeds to grab her arm and drag her away. I ponder making a quick run into the public restroom before leaving, but thoughts of what I might have to deal with if some uppity woman (or worse, women) decide I don't belong quickly dash those thoughts. Instead, I make my way to the train and depart.
On the drive home from the train station, I stop to buy coffee. As I stand patiently at the counter, ready to order, a younger woman approaches and of course asks "Can I help you, sir?" Well beyond caring at this point, I give the woman my order, collect it and leave for home.