I have taken useful lessons from the HAI weekend.
“I find you particularly masculine” says D. Then, kindly (a wonderful afterthought, this, I wish I could do conversation like it) “perhaps at some point I will be able to see you as you want to be seen”.
And perhaps I should be a novelist, I could make my character appear more intelligent than I am by coming up with the repartee immediately, which takes me until the following day. No, D, you don’t. If I spoke and behaved as I do, using a male name and wearing jeans and a plain white t shirt, you would find me effeminate.
I don’t need you to see me as female. I did, at one point, need that from others: having no self-respect, I needed constant validation- but now I don’t, thank you. How you see me is down to your own blind spots, filters and comforting lies.
What I want from you is ordinary courtesy. The European Court of Human Rights, backed up by copious scientific research over decades and enthusiastically supported by the Blair government, the Liberals and the Tories, declare me female. In my particular case, four psychiatrists, I can’t remember how many counsellors and, most importantly, I, say that I am a woman. I want you to refer to me by female pronouns.
I love Clustrmaps. Yesterday I had my first visitor from Africa since I got my map on 13 February, as well as first visitors from Japan and the Phillippines, so now have evidence of visitors from every continent except Antarctica.