The booking was for a woman. But that wasn’t what turned up. Sure, that’s what it said on the documentation, but my lying eyes saw a bloke. I am often pointing out that homo sapiens is a sexually dimorphic species. We are very good at telling someone’s sex even at a distance. There are so many secondary characteristics, that it is almost impossible for a trans person to pass. Forget, for a moment, the primary characteristics and look at what is walking towards you. Broad shoulders, narrow hips, likely too be a man – see also long arms. Strong jawline, likely to be a man. Men and women hold themselves differently and walk differently. Then of course there was the ‘long’ hair. Except that it was a comb over that would make Arthur Scargill blush. No amount of hormone replacement therapy will correct male pattern baldness. If I’d missed all of this, there was the voice. As soon as a trans person opens their mouth, the game is up. It is very rare for them to have vocal surgery.
I was training a new colleague and we had two clients. So all three of us were polite, yet all three of us knew that we were participating in a lie, that we had to agree that the sky was green and the grass was blue, up was down and black was white.
We were reminded that the pronouns were she/her. When this happens, it tells me that the person concerned knows damned well that we can see through the sham, so we need to be reminded to play the game. Which, given that we are professionals in a professional environment, we were polite. My get around is not to us pronouns at all. I just refer to the person by name. Because, in my own little way, I am rebelling. I am not going to refer to an obvious man as ‘she’ and for the whole day I managed not to.
To be polite – to not unknowingly give offence – is to be a gentleman, that’s the definition.
Yesterday was pretty uncomfortable for me, frankly, because I hate lies. But I behaved like a model Soviet citizen. Mostly.
Ooooooh, no. Having not just been there but lived there – yea, while it was still Soviet – it’s the little bits that mark out out as the Soviet. I’m not allowed to complain about this but I shall, sotto voce and without anyone being able to call me to account.
Well, OK, that was the modal Soviet, not the model perhaps.