This post is PART 48 in a guest blogger series following author Rachael's transition from an A.M.A.B (Assigned Male at Birth) individual to that of a self-identified trans woman.
If you are just discovering Queer as me, start the story from the beginning here.
Much of my perception or awareness of the subtle social cues have become an absolute requirement to living as my true authentic self. Not only on how I dressed, but also on how I moved my body. Depending on who was near me, and in what setting I was walking or moving through would cause my mind to be on alert and in turn set the tone for my behavior. Although I find that if I feel that I'm in a safer space, I will be much more open with my conversation and my body posture.
But the frustration I feel when a man says to me to “smile” is well, infuriating is the mildest emotion I can use. Because heaven forbid that I don’t do as I’m asked. Men seem to become very cross with you if you are not doing something they have “asked” you to do. Having to feel like I have to always be on, can be extremely exhausting. Okay, I’ll leave this well-known fact that I’ve witnessed and have had to deal with alone for now. One, because it is usually denied, and second, I don’t want to come across as being a bitch.
Anyhow as I was mentioning, how you are perceived as you are walking and talking is something I never noticed until recently. Back when I was passing as a male, I went and did what I wished without regard to who was around me or even how others reacted to me in any social setting. This is one of the many aspects of white male privilege.
But now everything seems to hinge precariously on how I use my body language. I’m constantly being critiqued on what I’m doing and if it’s proper for that particular place and time. Either I didn’t notice such previously, or I’ve become much more aware of the subtle differences in how others act around me. I’m continually having to check how I’m expressing myself in front of others. I am now very aware of who is near me, especially when men are around. I have become very vigilant in where exit doors are, and I can almost feel the difference in the atmosphere of the room or area that I am inhabiting at that particular moment.
Most of the time, I feel safe. But there are times when I feel unsafe, something that has taken me awhile to understand and to listen to my intuition when I feel that way. Things that I did before without a thought, now come under scrutiny. Not to mention places I used to go, I now have to make sure that it’s proper to be seen there.
Strange how I never noticed it before now.
Then again, as I’m sure there are many women who can tell me, it comes part and parcel with being a female in the male gaze of the world. Why it’s strange it almost feels to me like perpetual harassment.
As a good friend, would tell me, welcome to womanhood princess
Editor’s Note: To read Queer as me – Part 49: To bra, or not to bra, click here. Or click here to read the previous blog post Queer as me – Part 47: Shoes, clothes, and so many colours. For the latest LSOP blog posts and so much more, make sure to add us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.