Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nobody expects a transsexual

(wtf why is it so weird being of transgendered experience)

I will tell you whats on my mindgrapes!

I typically think of myself as *barely* passing, in that, while I take for granted my ability to pass as male in day to day existence, I don't expect it to require any large stretch of the imagination for the casual observer to imagine me as a former member of the fairer sex. At 5'4" I don't exactly tower, the fuzz that grows on my cheeks would be an embarrassment for most male-type persons old enough to see an R rated movie, and--as a lesbian I know personally once observed--being a masculine, female-assigned person gives new and ponderous meaning to the phrase "hips don't lie." So ya, passing, but not with flying colors.

As such I'm always sort of startled by the inability of laypeople to imagine the possibility of a transsexual incarnate. I suspect herein lies our greatest strength as a people. For instance:

Now that I have departed the homosexual metropolis of Gotham for the differently-queered Twin Cities, I have to go to a clinic for regular normal people. I sort of assumed that the nurse taking my medical history knew what was up when I explained that I was prescribed testosterone but he looked completely confused when I told him my medial records back in NYC might be filed under a former legal name. He sort of blinked and said "Oh really? Why? Did you like get married or something? No, that wouldn't make sense..." So I just sort of stared at him and was like "um anyway it might be under this name..."

In a similar vein, last week I went to go get my photo taken for my student ID card and the exchange was sort of like:

BUBBLY WORKSTUDY: Hi! Can I have your student ID number?
AJ: Um sure, let me find it... I guess I should warn you though I might still be in your system under my former legal name--I filed the name change form last week but I don't know if everything is updated yet. [AJ gives student number]
BUBBLY WORKSTUDY: Nope you're here! Oh wait! [laughs out loud] That can't be right unless your name is [REDACTED]!!! [Continues to LOL]
AJ: Uh... actually, that'd be that former name I told you about. I guess I'll come back once your system's updated.

Anyway, this week I went back to the student services center to see why it was taking so long for the system to update my name change. I explained the situation to the worker who agreed it was taking longer than usual and I was again asked for my student ID number. Upon looking up my record, however, the man's face went blank and he stared confusedly at the monitor for several seconds before turning it around to show me what was on the screen. Looking completely befuddled, he said "I think something's wrong--can you explain this to me? I don't understand." And I replied "Um yes. That there's my former legal name. That's what I'm trying to get changed. Also that gender designation is wrong--I don't know why it says that. Can you change that too please?" (It was interesting that I was entered as female in the University system since I definitely never checked any "F" box on my application. Fun fact: my girlfriend, who bears a decidedly masculine name despite being a lady through and through, has discovered in the past that the university she works lists her as male in their system.) 

Anyway the guy puttered off to speak with his supervisor and I ultimately learned that the reason my information was never updated in the university systems was because the form had never been processed: whoever got saddled with the paperwork I originally filed had apparently determined that it--I--must be some kind of mistake. Which, depending on your ideas about, you know, the particular discursive nature of gender in our society and everything, might in fact be more true than that person realized. LOL!

The moral of the story is obviously that NOBODY HARDLY EVER EXPECTS A TRANSSEXUAL (to exist). AJ will need to report back once he has determined how to best take advantage of this phenomenon (suprize! world domination?) but in the interim, recommendations are welcome.



2 comments:

nellyg said...

hello! can i just get some credit where credit is due?? I AM THE UNNAMED LESBIAN WHO MADE THE VERY WITTY POINT ABOUT THE DUAL MEANING 'HIPS DON'T LIE.' Also, sounds like a real hassle to inhabit a category that most people (in minnesota) can't comprehend.

AJ said...

fine NEVAR AGAIN shall i protect ur privacy. also dont be silly ppl in nyc cant comprehend transsexuals either tho it is funnier out here because everyone tries to be so polite about everything. neway ur sympathy overwhelms.

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