Scene: a well lit identikit office bathroom. The door opens as a man enters. He's carrying a large sports bag.
Ralph: Afternoon, Jim. Alright, chap?
Jim: Oh, y’know. Fair to shite.
Jim: Here, be a pal and zip me up would you?
Ralph draws the zip closed on the back of Jim's dress.
Ralph: This is lovely. You been exercising?
Jim: Thanks, mate. Got it in the sale. Exercise? You do know me, right?
Ralph: You couldn’t get into that Boden’s number before last month. You’ve lost weight.
Jim: Aye, well, that’s the thing about infiltrating these women groups. You don’t half learn a few things. Self care for one, and I don’t mean blooming fashion and dieting. I realised I was using food in an unhealthy way, to cope with my emotions and there’s better options.
Ralph: Like swearing or drinking loads?
Jim: Not quite, my young jedi. More a case of light exercise, self acceptance, and mindfulness. Don’t knock ’em till you’ve tried ’em.
Ralph: I’m not sure, but if you think that would help. Anyways, I can see your happier in yourself. Just a mo, I don’t want my clothes to crease.
Ralph unpacks his sports bag and hangs an orange hoodie and straightens out a pair of running leggings.
Jim: Going jogging?
Ralph: Nah, it’s athleisure. It’s sooo comfortable, if a little snug. Very popular for women my age. Great just in case you suddenly need to do a quick spot of cold yoga or jog back to the car.
Jim: not in those trainers. They’ve not seen a puddle. I’m getting a tan they’re that white.
Ralph: Ha, very droll. You seem Biffy recently?. I’ve not seen him for months. He was all over this idea at the start.
Jim: No, and thankfully not. He said he didn’t need all this disguise business to get into women’s areas. He said he could just go in to a loo or find them in the street. That and he was funny about the idea of us looking the part. Said it was unmanly and I was quite hurt by his tone. That aside, I don’t think his behaviour is okay, and that’s not what we’re about at the Blokerati: our job is to find what women are really up to, not be rude or a perv.
Ralph: So what’s the plan then now you’re all ready? Looking to sneak in to the lav in the theatre to check there’s not a Femme Mafia meeting?
Jim: There isn’t, at least not in that loo. Plus there’s not enough cubicles for the time taken and the people waiting. So, tonight it’s Home Circle. Janice is giving a talk on going through the change and I said I’d be there for moral support. Nothing like being in shapewear and full warpaint to appreciate the warmth of a spring evening. I thought I might need to leave and drain my feet until the AC kicked in. Anyway, Neena said she was going to share her granny’s marmalade recipe.
Ralph: those carbs will stick.
Jim: True and never where you want them to. Still, you’ve got to have something to look forward to. I mean, I’ve cut right back on dairy and meat. I’ve never been so regular and I’ve really slimmed.
Ralph: That’s a bit of an overshare. Time to return the favour. Can you tighten my corset?
Jim: Aye. Breathe in. Ready? One… Two… Right. Just tie you off. That should keep you trim. You’ll not be running much with that on and those hips pads.
Ralph: It’s a Zumba class. I just need to build my cover so I can join their running club later and grab this year’s medals. To think, you and I have spent months and Lord knows how much on a new wardrobe, makeup, and hair; all that so we could sneak into women’s only spaces eh?
Jim: I know. I shan’t miss the pain of a night on me toes, that’s for sure. Still, keep playing the long game. I don’t think anyone suspects at the mo. Soon we’ll be able to learn why women earn less in the same jobs, get talked over by male colleagues, why the streets aren’t safe, why is it they’re judged for the wearing the wrong type of lippy in the office, and all secrets we’re not wise to. All this will go into the report.
Ralph: that’s the plan, Jim. Just, remember to not use the loo at the community centre.
Jim: Why? Isn’t it safe?
Ralph: No, you bloody blocked it last week, Mr Regular.
Occasionally, I try my hand at not blogging, and this is one of those moments. I guess I’m tired of the fear and doubt being aimed at the Trans community, as if we’re all pervs, just looking to sneak into bathrooms or invade spaces. Trust me, we’re not.
So, no. Men are not ‘dressing up’ to infiltrate changing rooms or the like. When a person transitions, they are leaving their old life for the new. That’s not dressing up. People who transition want to fit in, to just get on with life, and be accepted as the person they are.
For me, as a part timer, someone who feels they are two genders and with an emotional need to express them, I’m quite conscious of my privileges. As a man, I don’t feel the threat of violence, but in a more female presentation, I’m conscious I don’t pass and that has a risk of mistreatment from another angle.
The enemy isn’t those who transition. The enemy is the behaviour, culture, and media that put forward the idea that it’s okay for a women to be mistreated, threatened, or abused – whatever their background or history.
Maybe we wouldn’t need safe spaces, if we felt safe.