I had an incident in work today that was awkward for me to deal with. As soon as one of the girls on my team thrust the open magazine in my face and said something along the lines of "do you think she is fit?", I knew this might be a little awkward. I recognised the girl on the page, she was someone I had already seen a story about a month previously on the internet, and the story was about her successful transition from boy to woman.
The girl on my team was trying to 'trip me up' in the same way she had just done to several others on my team into saying they fancied someone who 'is actually a man'. Now, I was suddenly faced with a dilemma. The topic is very close to one of my biggest secrets and im very conscious of what I say and do whenever it comes up because I dont want to give the game away, but I had mere seconds to come to a decision about what to say, and im not exactly proud of my response: "he". I could have played along, and just had a laugh at my expense for a few minutes but instead some twisted form of pride got in my way and regrettably on the spur of the moment I panicked and opted to save face.
I explained I had seen the story previously and wasnt going to fall foul of her game, but then of course the obvious happened and members of my team started chatting about a few people they know who crossdress. Regardless of my response, this would have happened anyway im sure. I didnt hear a lot of the comments, but I did hear the odd one: "Yeah, he wears womens underwear and everything", "thats just weird", (referring back to the magazine) "I cant believe thats a man, look you can still see his willy in his knickers", and so on.
I felt really uncomfortable, and it does seem to be happening on a semi-regular basis these days. If its not dealing with media portrayals of Transvestites (Just-Eat & Bet Victor adverts are the worst for me at the moment, I cant help but feel they are a reflection on me), its the topic being brought up by friends from time to time. Another example is about a month ago we had some friends stay at ours after going to see Eddie Izzard, soon after their arrival they started chatting about him being a Transvestite, and spent a good 30-45 mins speculating in a manner that gave the impression they thought it was a bit freaky. Of course, I didnt say very much and me and my partner gave knowing glances across the room from time to time.
I never know what to say or do in these circumstances. I read all these blogs online by people who take a stand for what they believe in whenever they are challenged, and I have a lot of respect for these people and feel obligated to do the same. To try and defend those who are like me and try to make those who are uninformed understand were not some sideshow freaks. Realistically though, ive got to look after number one. Its selfish but im not and do not intend to out myself to friends in the near future, if anything it could cost me my relationship with my girlfriend and that is far too important to me. I cant go down the route of defending and informing without giving away the fact that I know far more than I should, which means I cant do anything other than sit there and listen while my friends talk about people who are trans* in a frank manner, which im sure they wouldnt do if they knew they were talking about me too.
I would love to have been able to sit down with my team today to challenge their misinformed views and try to have made them a little more open minded. I wish I had not responded the way I did, it is extremely disrespectful and only served the purpose of reinforcing to the others in the group the fact that she was born a male, and not who she is now as a person. Instead, I just sat at my desk and just waited for the conversation to die out so the topic would change.