I’ve always been doing it really, but ever since I came to admit to myself that I am a trans woman, I’ve considered myself flying under the radar in the male world. Being in the world, but not of the world, as the Zen inclined would phrase it. Flying under, incognito, in disguise, and undeclared, I have been accepted by the demographic as one of their own, albeit an outlier on account of my quirky nature and disdain for piling on anyone other than “us”. It’s becoming less sustainable.
Estimates vary and I’ve seen quite a few numbers reported by various sources that put the incidence rate of transsexual type transgender people at a population of 1 in anywhere from 10 to 40 thousand. Regardless of the huge margin of error, that isn’t a very big population however you look at it. Experience seems to validate that as of all the people I have come out to, a very rare few have ever even encountered someone like me. I know I hadn’t. I can see now why I always lose at gambling; my luck manifests in other arenas.
Last Friday I was hunched in my cube preparing a report when the endless chitter-chatter I’m exposed to erupted yet again amongst my direct reports. Mind you, other than HR, no one at work is aware of my true blue identity. It’s not easy, but until the current massive layoff is complete, I’m laying low. I start catching snippets of the conversation and freeze up.
“Holy shit, remember Roy* who used to work in Dept X? Get this, Lew got a call last night from someone calling herself Penny. It was Roy!”
Now what are the chances of that happening? The funny thing is, I always wondered about “Roy”, whom the others used to call ‘Boobies’ due to ill concealed breasts under thin tee shirts. I wondered more when “Roy” grew very long hair, and sported a very androgynous appearance. At the time I was still in a losing battle to convince myself I was really male and not ready to think too much about it, but was still disappointed when “Roy” was let go in a previous layoff.
I froze when I heard the conversation begin. I know I have looming before me the task of letting my staff know they are actually working for a woman who will be appearing as such in the near future. As usual my face flushed and I pretended to be very busy as I got the inside scoop of what they really thought about someone who is transgendered.
As expected, they were having some fun with it, and not always in a very nice way. They immediately began scouring the internet for images of ‘Penny’ and debated as to whether they wanted to look or not due to ‘Penny’ being “really a dude”. There was considerably speculation as to what “he” would do with “his” penis once it was cut off. The idea that “he” was probably wearing women’s underwear at work was apparently “gross”.
I really wondered if this was my time to stand and educate; to defend my trans sister from the cruel barbs of ignorance. I didn’t. I just wasn’t ready for the speculation about why the front of my own sweater was beginning to swell (and far more rapidly than my endo indicated it would, not that there is anything wrong with that).
So yes, I remained under the radar and took it all in. It wasn’t easy. At least now when the clouds part sometime within the next couple of months and I fly above, I know the lay of the land. Forewarned is forearmed, and I know what work I have cut out for myself. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.
*Not her real male mode name.