Convention

I’m on my way home from a convention with work. I’ve been away for two days with seven complete strangers and one not-so-close colleague. With a new cool masculine haircut, button down shirt, masculine swag and the binder firmly in place, I was actually still nervous when we met up at the train station yesterday morning. I don’t like meeting new people outside of my profession and this trip included way to many casual social interactions for my comfort. First of all the four hour travel to the event with the people from my company, then lunches, breakfasts, dinner and a nightclub(!) in the evening. Who, in their right mind arrange a nightclub for a convention when everyone who is there is paid to be there? It doesn’t make any sense to me other than giving people an excuse to get drunk and stay up way to late on a work night. My social anxiety made me feel even more dysphoric than usual and since I still haven’t been able to put on my binder on my own, I was almost freaking out the days leading up to the trip nearly calling the whole thing off. Anxiety is never a good thing, and it always makes new worries popping up inside of me. I was afraid to be treated differently or that others would talk about me behind my back because of the way I look, but no one moved a muscle – I was treated exactly the same way as everyone else. This is nice, for a change. I’m actually treated better and more inclusively now than I ever was in female clothes. It puzzles me a bit, but I guess that my newfound respect for myself influences other people’s way of interacting with me. Surprisingly, though, I am still seen as a woman all the time. Not only by those who know me – or know someone who knows me – but also complete strangers address me with female pronouns. I think I look really masculine at the moment, but I guess that other people still pick up more of the feminine queues than the masculine that I transmit. Another worry of mine included my binder. Being uncomfortable around 450 strangers is one thing, but having to do that without my binder day two was almost unthinkable, especially after my amusement park-experience. Luckily, with a little persuasion and endurance, I managed to put on the binder on my own!!! I was thrilled, and it made all the other things a little easier to bear.
I learned a lot and met new people that I probably newer will talk to again even though they were really nice, and I also met an old classmate. I have no idea how he did it, but he instantly recognized me and greeted me by my name even though it’s 18 years since we saw each other the last time. I’m not very happy too meet old acquaintances, it evokes much to many painful memories of failure and not fitting in and I like to think that I have changed a lot since then – both as a person as well as in my appearance. He recognizing me so quickly felt like a betrayal, like a confirmation of me still being a failure and misfit. I don’t want to be all woman and only woman. I want to move beyond the person I was brought up to be, I just want to be ME, and I don’t want to be reminded of the person I was forced to be as a kid and teenager.

2 thoughts on “Convention

  1. Some random thoughts – people I went to High School with stop me (even if they were not in my grade) and tell me they know me from then. I look very similar except for being that much older and I dress a little better (but just as masculinely). It is odd because NYC should be anonymous but it isn’t. I accept it and take it as a compliment.

    It is extremely hard for a woman over the age of mid-20’s to be read as a man (as opposed to a teenage boy). WIthout testosterone you don’t have enough of the secondary sex characteristics- it is frustrating – T makes a big difference in face shape and skin appearance.
    I’ll get sir’d if I am not wearing anything identifiably female (no earrings, men’s clothing) but there will usually be a “sorry I meant ma’am” follow up. It doesn’t help that I am short. I am usually read as a masculine woman, and often stared at while the poor person is dealing with their cognitive dissonance.

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    • Thank you for letting me know it’s not just me…
      I think there’s a difference between how men and women read me. I get the feeling that men more often read me as, well, at least masculine where women always see me as a woman.

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