A week ago Saturday, after spending a great evening going to dinner and clubs on Church Street, Kim, Tiffany and I went to a coffee shop in the heart of the Gay Village, where we relaxed and chatted with one another. That’s when we overheard two gay men—both sat behind us—talking about us. Among the more polite things that were talking about were, “Who do these guys think they are? Dressing up like women.” “Who are they trying to fool?” “It’s not like they actually look feminine.” “Totally not passable.” “The Chinese guy, may be marginal, but the other two definitely aren’t.” (FYI: I was “the Chinese guy”.) And after picking out flaws from each of us, they started talking about someone else, “I know this guy, who likes to prance around at home wearing lingerie and stockings. He thinks that makes him feminine….[sarcastic laugh]”
I don’t mind looking “marginally passable”, but what was deflating me was having my appearance scrutinized in every detail by someone behind my back (literally), and having myself reduced to the sum of all those flaws, just so that they can conclude that I am not suitable to be a woman. I wanted to turn around and confront them, but at the end I decided against it. And hearing about it felt worse than when a bunch of teenagers yelled, “That’s a fucking man!” at me in the middle of downtown a few years ago.
Contrast this with the following Saturday when I was back to Wildside to meet up with those same friends for dinner. While I was there I made acquaintance with a post-op woman who was there waiting to catch an interview Paddy (Wildside’s owner) had with Mandy Goodhandy (a local shemale performer). When I joked about my appearance, she started asking me questions. “Are you post-op?” Nope. “TS?” No. “Intersexed?” Gosh no. I don’t even know what that means. “In transition?” No. “On hormones?” No. At the end, after we managed to sort out that I’m just a plain part-time crossdresser (a label that I detest), she said, “if you ever decide to transition…it’s like you’re there already.” She pointed out to me that my look and mannerism were very feminine, and that my skin looked like someone who has been on hormones for quite some time. I took that as a great compliment.
What is interesting is that when I’m in “girl mode”, I make a point to act, speak and behave the same way as when I’m in “boy mode”. (For example: I swear just as much as a girl; I’m just as aggressive as a girl etc.) But aside from having commenting that my handwriting is girly, no one has ever thought that my mannerism in “boy mode” was in any way feminine.
Anyway, drop me a comment, and let me know how much of a woman you see in me.
PS: The picture is taken at my new apartment. I took the day off work, and ended working at home anyway.
This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional)