After our move to San Francisco this summer, though, I found myself in a very different situation. I have a few friends here who know I’m trans, but I haven’t made it a point to tell people as I meet them. It’s not my intention to hide this part of myself, but I’m just not used to being in a situation where I have to explicitly come out as trans in order for folks to know. Now that it’s something I have to specifically tell other people, I haven’t quite figured out the best way to do it. In addition, I realize that there’s a difference between wanting to be stealth and instantly telling everyone I meet; there’s no reason I have to come out to everyone I know.
I think my decision not to come out at work at this point makes sense; I have a feeling that at least one of my bosses would ask me the same kind of inappropriate questions that I used to get from some former co-workers. I don’t think anyone would care in a way that would endanger my job, but aside from one new hire it doesn’t seem like anyone I work with is particularly trans-savvy (although, of course, I could be mistaken). I don’t know that I want to use up my mental energy at work on being Mr. Trans 101.
Still, though, it’s weird to think that I’m being read so consistently as a cis man. That’s not what I am! I’d love to find some sort of balance in my presentation that doesn’t stop people from seeing me as some sort of guy but maybe confuses them a little bit. I do this a bit already: I’m much more comfortable wearing clothes like my pink Unity Conference 2009 t-shirt (it even has a unicorn on it) than I used to be, plus I tend to wear large and ornate earrings in my largest stretched lobes a lot of the time. I have an expressive speaking voice and use lots of big, wavy hand motions when I talk, and I don’t police my voice as much as I used to so it tends to get higher when I’m excited. I love talking about my favorite things, which happen to be pretty non-manly: baking, crafting, and cute animals.
Somehow, and I wonder if this is in part because I now live in a city with such a huge gay population, all this seems to do is make people assume I’m Extremely Gay. I’m mostly ok with folks thinking I’m gay, although it gets weird when they then assume my partner is a man even though I specifically never use gendered pronouns for them, and if someone asks I will always correct them and say I’m queer. After all, I am a guy who is attracted (although not exclusively!) to other guys, and if someone is going to make an incorrect assumption about me there are much worse ones for them to make.
So I’ve been trying to figure out what else I can do that might push folks closer to the vast Confusion Zone in regards to my gender presentation. I’m vaguely considering nail polish, which is kind of hilarious because it’s the sort of thing I was so glad to escape years ago, and when a friend suggested eyeliner this week I didn’t automatically dismiss it. Makeup and I were never friends, but now that there’s no expectation for me to wear it, I’m halfway tempted. I have no idea how to use eyeliner without stabbing myself in the eyeball, though.
I am pretty excited about what happened over Thanksgiving – the same friend asked if she could dye my hair, so now it’s a bright purple that looks pretty great and not at all manly, if you ask me. Maybe that’ll help a bit?