Again back to that tolerance/ acceptance/ questioning thing.
Naive questions are a bit of a pain. “Being transsexual- what is it like?” “Have you always known you were a girl?” “Have you had the operation yet?” Tolerance- “I’m such a liberal sort of person that I can even tolerate people like you” is worse. Acceptance is alright, though I would prefer that it just happened, rather than needed to be a conscious process. My reaction depends upon my mood: yes I want people to understand my kind, for understanding promotes acceptance, but sometimes I am just too tired to engage.
I do not want you to work through your stuff with me. Round about transition, “Are you really sure you are doing the right thing?” was a bearable question, but not if repeated. Take yes for an answer. Yes, I have thought about this. For years. Yes, I know all sorts of ways in which it could go wrong. I have considered all the options, and this is the one I choose. And I choose how to work it out for myself- offers of a listening ear are welcome, but I have to choose when and whether to take that offer up.
My response to judgment may be short and rude. “I find you particularly masculine”. “Fuck off”. Actually, at the moment this is an aspiration. I have not got there yet. I get upset, or I withdraw. It is possible for me to improve my sense of self-worth and entitlement, to make it more appropriate. I am entitled that you keep your judgment to yourself, and use the correct name and pronouns. And, in one case when the woman later revealed her own vulnerability, I could open and relate.
That might be it. “I find you particularly masculine.” That is reaching out and touching my vulnerability, one I have perhaps not chosen to bring up, in a way which is not on my terms. I am still healing, this still gets to me, though not as much as before.
In childhood it got to me completely. However feminine I am innately, I learned early that my feelings and my spontaneous reactions were wrong, and that if I did not pretend to be normal masculine I was in trouble. So I observed male, seeking to copy it.
When I started going out female, a chance insult in the street meant more to me than all the acceptance of my Quaker meeting and work colleagues. It could crush me for days.
Now, it still gets to me, though far less. I have the idea that I may in future shrug it off, that it genuinely will not matter, that I can see the other clearly and feel compassion for his struggles. Not quite yet.