Earlier this week it was International Women’s Day. I am not a woman and I doubt I’ll ever make the journey to become one. There are some who believe that trans women can never be women. I’m not going to address that in this post and for the record, trans women are women. So, do I think of myself as a woman when in Lynn mode? No, I don’t.
I’m a part timer. Trans, possibly, but wholy ‘male’ in behaviour? Not so much. I’m someone not quite wholly in one camp or the other. Sure, I easily pass as a bloke, and provided I keep my trap shut about my true self, I think I get away with it. Certainly no-one’s called me on it. If they suspect, they’re too polite to say anything.
So, I hide in plain sight, getting away with my middle class, white privilege. But, I listen and I see.
I hear some female colleagues interrupted. I see news stories of the gender pay gap. I’ve heard horrible stories of women being mistreated, groped, attacked, etc The crap around “she was asking for it, dressed like that.”. The constant drip of everyday sexism and the BS around ‘touching’. I’ve seen #MeToo rise through social media and spill out on to the news and radio.
I may not be female, but I’ve walked in their shoes. I may not pass, but I know when I don’t look wholly male, I’m a second class citizen. Men stride in front of me, men talk over me. I have to wait. I’ve learned to ‘know my place’ if I want to blend in. In conversations in stores, if a man is talking, the rule seems to be to wait. As a man looking in on this world, I find this so odd.
I’ve felt the fear of violence for being out on a night going back to the car on my own. I’ve heard my heels announce my presence as I walk by a bar. The undercurrent of something dark within drunken cat-calls (get your eyes tested fellas 😛 ).
I won’t stand for it. I try to listen, and never mansplain. I try to treat a women as an equal, and if she’s better than me, I acknowledge that. Lots of people are better than me at many things; seriously, just let it go, guys. I call male colleagues out when they interrupt. I’ve called men out on their sexism. Tried to debate with them, rather than burn then; but somethings, they’re beyond the pale.
I’ve tried to coach (but not teach) my daughter that there’s more to life than being popular, pretty, thin, or cool. I do tell her I love her for who she is. That she’s capable, awesome, and fantastic. I do my best to listen, even when I’d rather talk, because doesn’t she need to be heard just as much?
I am not perfect, not by a country mile, but I can’t turn away when I’ve seen the mistreatment.
On to lighter news…. 🙂 Chams was my first night out in a while, and I had a bit of panic around if I wanted to go, or even what should I wear or bother? Ah, but I’ve been here before and found a well stocked bag covers many ills. 🙂
I even got to wear my new top that the Ever Lovely Mrs J bought me for Christmas. Sheer sleeves and a velvet centre. I did feel rather special in it. Just team with skinny jeans and killer heels for added smiles.
Anyhoo, I’m very glad I went as it was a good night. A few of the new folk had decided to visit again, and I got to talk with the regulars too. It was a late night because towards the end of the evening, somehow he group’s conversation combined into one, and we started talking about the trans-men’s experiences. I guess we’re coming back to them truly knowing what it was to be female, and seeing male privilege in action.
It reminded me just how easy I have it comparatively. We spoke about loving our bodies as well as not. We talked about feeling pretty, handsome, or even sexy when everything was just so. We talked about ‘what is it to be a man’. We laughed about errors in body hair removal, and we listened to each other share their views.
All in all, it was a very deep conversation with many people adding to it. I know I learned a few things. As we packed up for the night, I was reminded of my coaching tutor and her words on how important it is to truly listen.