30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 19

11 Dec

Do you feel comfortable answering questions about your gender to friends? Acquaintances? Strangers?

I was just about to say that I am more than happy to answer questions about gender in general, but I guess when it comes down to my gender it depends on who asks.

Sometimes it is easier when it is coming from a stranger, for example when I might be facilitating or running training around Trans* 101 or gender diversity. No one knows me so I don’t really care about other people’s judgements and am more than comfortable challenging inappropriate questions or assumptions made.

Acquaintances, especially people who I might be starting to get to know, sometimes make me feel a little more uncomfortable in answering questions about my gender. A work colleague for example would trigger a mild anxiety attack as I feel uncomfortable as is being ‘me’ at work. I think everyone assumes I am a lesbian and no one has ever asked anything else about me. I’ve told a select number of people at work about my involvement within the trans* community and disclosed my pronoun preference, but that is about it. My comfort level with other acquaintances really depends on many factors like how did I meet this person, do they understand the basic trans* stuff, what questions are they asking and how do they identify.

Very few friends (who aren’t trans* themselves) have asked me about my gender and overall I am more than happy to answer. I have to say one or two people have asked me very personal and possibly inappropriate questions, which at the time I answerd too quickly and honestly. It wasn’t until I was recounting the conversation with trans* friends that they flagged it as not appropriate – even for someone who I consider a friend. I suppose at the time I got caught up on ‘educating’ them about trans* stuff that I didn’t think about what questions were ok not to answered. For this reason I’ve often referred people to the Dude Trans Male Zine section of appropriate and inappropriate questions.

Adapted from the 30 day Trans challenge and the 30 day [GSM] challenge

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