I attended a meeting for volunteers from an organization I work with. It’s really a weekend with different workshops, but I couldn’t attend until Sunday afternoon. When I came a lot of new faces greeted me, saying how nice it was to finally meet me, how much they had heard about me and how glad they were that I could come and so on. One guy kept insisting that we had met before but I’m sure we haven’t.I’m not used to be the center of attention like this and normally I would detest it, but for some reason it was a nice experience in a weird way. It’s like that saying; everybody knows the monkey, but the monkey knows no one!
This is the first non-local event that I’ve attended. When it comes to this organization I’m more of a online and telephone person than an IRL person. And I guess being nominated for volunteer of the year two consecutive years does affect how many people in the organization know my name and face, especially those who use to attend these kind of events.
Between meetings a guy came up to me and asked when I was away on my exchange year (it’s an exchangestudent organization). My answer 1999/2000 resulted in a brief glazed gaze from him, like he had to think really hard to process the information. He then concluded that I look very young (I’m guessing he was barely born back then) and I was a smudge from answering “it’s because I haven’t gone through puberty yet.” Ha, I’m so funny! My non-spoken comment have cheered me up all week!
I feel that my transitioning, especially the social one, is taking up some speed. Today I went to the swimming hall with my family. Before we went there I was agonizing over which locker room to use. Since I was arriving there with my wife and daughter I chose to use the women’s, although I regretted it immediately. It just doesn’t feel right anymore. I’m a man, I want to be seen as a man and I’m read as a man more and more. I don’t belong in the women’s locker room anymore. Fortunately there weren’t any people in the locker room when we arrived and I had showered at home so I changed quickly to my swim wear and slipped out of there.
When it was time for snacks my wife sent me in to the locker room to get our bag, despite my opposition. I knew what was coming, but couldn’t really speak up properly since we had company. Of course the room was filled with women!!! I almost had an anxiety attack, looked at the floor the entire time and just rushed through. Now that more and more people only know me as Fredrik, it would be a nightmare to meet someone I know in the women’s department!
When it was time to go I picked up my bag in the women’s locker room and got dressed in the handicap, single, lockable locker room instead. Unfortunately you have to walk through either the women’s or the men’s locker room to get to the handicap one, but next time I will walk through the men’s department!
I feel so empowered just by making that statement. And I’m so relieved that my wife finally sees how wrong it is for me to be in the women’s. She’s hesitated a lot about whether she’s ok with me going to the men’s locker room or not. She’s concerned for my safety there and I guess that as long as I’m with her she feels that she can stand up for me if necessary.
I think the switch between locker rooms are one of the most significant part of transitioning because it’s so definite. Transitioning is a process, often quite slow, but locker rooms doesn’t acknowledge a sliding scale. It’s extremely binary, one or the other, and it’s not socially acceptable to switch between them from time to time. Sometimes I wish there would be a locker room human and 3/4.
Despite all the locker room nightmares and the usual swim wear issues, I really enjoyed swimming with my family. Our daughter LOVES the water and later on her other dads joined us. She now has one mum, three dads, six dogs, one cat, four grandmas and three grandpas! She is one deeply loved child!