The Gender Police

From Huffington Post:


The lady blocks my way as I try to walk into the bathroom, I go to walk around her, she’s looking me right in the face and when I try to dodge her she sidesteps into my path again, we do a little dance, her challenging me, me trying to walk in the door, coincidentally I need to pee.

Eventually, she lets me in with a suspicious little squint in her eye and when I’m sitting on the toilet I can see her sensible shoes standing guard outside. For some reason I make sure to pee loudly. She lets me leave and I’m struck with a bad case of the staircase wit, Treppenwitz the Germans call it, where one’s mind is suddenly flooded with witty retorts to a situation you’ve just left. In my head they get more and more aggressive, going as far as remaining silent and just flashing my boobs at her. If anything grants entitlement to the ladies’ bathroom, surely they do.

Because that was her problem, she thought I was a man. This isn’t unusual for me, it happens all the time. People are just usually less defensive about the whole thing; they’ll stride into the loos, see me, stop in their tracks and do a double take on the sign on the door, confirm that they really did see a stick figure with a skirt and then proceed with caution and a few stares as I wash my hands and try not to do anything to make them uncomfortable, like stare back.

Life is just fine for me in every other aspect of life, I frolic freely in my androgyny and it’s not until those moments when your gender is asked of you that confusion ensues. Everyone does the calculations, you have to: He, she, her, him. What shall we call our baby?

There are the odd perks, the airline employee who when inspecting my boarding pass declared I couldn’t possibly be Olivia. I am and after a slightly too long pause with a jetlagged sigh told her so. The apologetic mortification that she felt lead to exceptional in-flight service and bottle of wine to take home. Then of course, the times when the ladies’ has a line stretching to infinity and I stride with confidence into the near-empty mens’.

The cringe factor is the extreme embarrassment people feel when they get it wrong. They have mistaken your place in the most basic division of humanity. The fact is that the world cradles gender identity at its core, and its only when you hover in the in between that it is blindingly obvious.

So when I see a fellow androgyne it warms my heart.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Gender Police
%d bloggers like this: