I recently came out as trans. Most of my co-workers have been incredibly supportive of my journey. However, the way I present myself doesn’t match people’s expectations of what women should look like, and constantly having to answer uncomfortable questions is tiring.
We have pronoun buttons and I wear she/her. Customers see it and they think it’s some big joke: “Oh, what’s your real name? What’s actually your name?” I just respond with, “Oh, that is my name. That’s how I identify.” Sometimes customers can be very vulgar and disrespectful, where they ask about my genitals and sex life. There was this one obnoxious guy; he was talking to some other associate and he was really loud. He gestured toward me and was saying things like, “That guy over there who definitely likes sex, cock, and everything.” As an employee, I can’t really talk back to customers, but it still definitely eats away at me.
There was a particular incident with a gentleman, a co-worker, that got me really upset. In retrospect, it probably would have been a better idea to go to management about it, but it didn’t feel like the right route because I knew him. As soon as I told him about my trans identity, he immediately changed to the new pronouns, new name, everything, and was very supportive. But one day, he pulls me aside and tells me he’s been doing research. He then asks me, “Do you think you’re gonna get the surgery?”
I tried to be coy and said, “Well, I don’t know, I haven’t decided about whether or not I’m getting facial surgery or anything.” He comes back with, “You know that’s not what I’m talking about.” It was very uncomfortable. He then says, “You know, I’m sorry, but if you do that, you are fucked in the head.”
I recognize that the way he was talking to me was probably out of care, because he was worried about what would happen to me and what my health was going to be like. But I couldn’t get it out of my head. So, I confronted him about it and told him not to talk to me about that again, please. He then agreed to not do that again. He was starting to become friends with me a little bit, but after I confronted him, he became very standoffish again.
I know this is how people are, basically, but I don’t want my life to be constant harassment. It’s just frustrating because I’ll have to deal with this forever and it’s probably going to get worse with time. As I become more visibly ambiguous, I feel a little more depressed and apathetic about the world not ever changing. It takes a lot of energy, but I know it’ll take a whole lot more if I make a big deal about every misconception or assumption people make about my gender. I know that no matter where I go, I’m probably going to face a fair bit of transphobia.
Still, a good number of people have been supportive and happy for me, so there are a lot of positive things about coming out and fully embracing who I am.