I was checking out at a local grocery store with my bag of salt & pepper chips when I got some very interesting looks from the cashier. Twenty something and friendly, she looked at me for a long moment when I handed her my store card. I could feel her eyes on me as I swiped my debit card and completed the transaction. As she handed me my receipt, she took the time to search my face, my hairline, my expression. Search for what? I’m fairly certain she was trying to figure out what I was. There was no negativity in her gaze, no judgement, just honest, open curiosity. She probably wanted to know how to correctly address me, which gendered title to use.
Apparently, she was unable to check one box or the other because she kept her language gender neutral. I love being sirred, but would rather be seen as undecipherable rather than ma’amed. The cool thing about this happening today is that I feel pretty integrated today. Not gender neutral, necessarily. Even if it’s just in my head, I’m rarely neutral about gender. Integrated is more about feeling all the parts working together and not feeling slighted or less than.
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