Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Right now, I look androgynous.

People don't know what to do with me. When I go to a grocery store or a restaurant, I sometimes get called "sir" and sometimes "ma'am." If I'm with a male friend, I tend to get read as male, whereas I seem more likely to get gendered female when I'm with women.

Often, I just confuse people. I notice it when the waiter takes our order, addressing each of my friends as "sir" or "ma'am," then getting to me and saying, "And for you...?"

Or there was the time when the Banana Republic fitting room attendant was telling each person in line, "Sir/Ma'am, your room is ready." On seeing me, he asked me my name - which obviously helped none, because he ended up just saying, "Max, your room is ready."

Or the time at Eucharist, when the presider had been saying to each communicant, "My sister, the body of Christ! My brother, the body of Christ!" When it came to me, there was a very long pause; and then, "Max, the body of Christ!"

At first it was fun, destabilizing people's neat little gender categories like that. I hadn't been so ambiguous since I was sixteen and beholden to a ghastly and neutralizing school uniform. I felt like a gender warrior, smashing the crap out of the stupid gender binary simply by existing.

I'm getting a little tired of it, though.

I don't want to spend my whole life thinking about gender every damn minute of every damn day. I don't want going out in public to be this big exhausting palaver of will-I-get-misgendered-today. If I could be certain that I would only ever get seen as male or neutral, I would be okay with it; but, in a world of binaries, visible androgyny carries the risk of being read as female.

(I've had more than enough of that for one lifetime.)

In a world where the vast majority of people didn't feel the need to instantaneously classify everyone they see as either M or F, perhaps I could be happily androgynous forever. But we do not live in that world, and I don't want to spend my life in the in-between space.

I'm a guy. I just want people to see me that way.

1 comment:

  1. I know them feels man. Just keep going, try to see how can make yourself look more masculine, and if anyone does misgender you gently correct them.