I’m not sure why, because I’ve had the haircut for a couple weeks now and I’ve been binding for over 6 months now and I haven’t worn makeup in probably a year and haven’t shaved my legs in two, but for some reason it all came together a couple nights ago, because the eight-year-old we adopted turned around when I walked in the room, looked me up and down, and asked, point blank, “Are you a boy?”
Now I wasn’t sure how to handle this, because yes, it would be awesome if everyone I lived with started acknowledging my gender, and I know that young children happen to be some of the most easily accepting people out there, without any huge gender strings attached. But I also know that they can’t keep their traps shut when needed, and also, with my stepmom who can never really accept this and her religious outlook on raising these kids, it would just be asking for trouble to come out to them.
So, hardly skipping a beat, I went with the “casual, no big deal” attitude approach and said, “Sure, why not?”
She inspected me a little more closely. “Because you look like a boy in that shirt.”
Later that night, she started to call me Tommy.
The funny thing was, I was wearing what I considered to be about the dykiest stuff in my wardrobe. I’d taken this attitude that, no matter what I do with myself right now, until I get on T and my voice drops and so forth, I’m pretty much going to look like a dyke to everyone who sees me, so I might as well roll with it for now, call it a cosplay, and at least be sexiest dyke that I can be. To that purpose, that day I was wearing one of those black t-shirts with a tuxedo front printed on it (so 80’s!), a pair of hand-me-down pants I like to call the “Pretencha-Pants” (because they were factory-ripped and bleached to perfection off the rack, hence dripping with pretension, and my boyfriend frankly couldn’t bring himself to wear them since he got them for christmas last year) and also army boots, a leather jacket, and a fedora with a pinstriped band. Oh yes, I had looks to beat the dykiest dyke out there, and in my moment where I was embracing that everyone couldn’t see me as anything but a girl and therefore I might as well look like the kind of girl I wouldn’t mind looking like, someone snapped me out of it and pinned me as a boy.
The next day, of course, I was called to jury duty. That morning, I went relatively dress-casual, with black jeans and a grey dress shirt (no tie) and also, my leather jacket because I couldn’t find the other one in time. I figured, if there was anything in my outfit that would pin me as a dyke, that was it, but I just shrugged and rolled with it. I didn’t really care what people saw me as- I was just there to do my civic duty and so forth.
When I was getting ready to leave, 8 y.o. decided to make a big deal out of it- “You look like a boy again. You look like you have a mustache.” I leapt to the mirror to look at my tiny fuzz- not much, I’m afraid, but just enough to give me a little tiny shadow in the right lighting. She thought I had put shading there, but I had her look real close, and she saw that it was real hair. And that was when she really started to freak out- “She’s turning into a boy! Quick, glue your hair back on! Shave your mustache! We have to stop you from turning into a boooooy!!!” It was actually pretty funny, because I obviously didn’t want her to take it seriously, and I don’t think she was. (Also, my dad called her an idiot.) Mainly, I just took it as affirmation. But at that point, I figured I still looked like a dyke and an 8 year old couldn’t really tell the difference, not having been part of queer community and whatnot.
So imagine my surprise when, going though the metal detectors at the courthouse, I had the guy who checked me say, “You’re all clear, sir. Move along.” It was the best moment EVAR. He didn’t even double-take and say “Sir- I mean, Miss, sorry,” like has been said before. It was the first unquestioned “Sir” I’ve ever gotten.
Better still, when the Judge was doing her cross-examination of the jurors and she got to me, she looked at me and said,
(glance down at paper)
(glance back up, then double-take at paper)
“…Excuse me, MISS Harbor.”
(commence slight tittering throughout the courtroom)
My first legal name is unmistakeably female, so the Miss was understandable. I didn’t even get bummed at being outed as female in front of a courtroom of about 80 people. It was a pretty cool test, saying that, with a little effort (and without opening my mouth), I can be read as male, even by someone as observant and sharp as a justice of the court. (And yes, she was very sharp- I liked her a lot.) Everyone seemed to read me as male before she unveiled me, too, so it was pretty intense.
Hopefully later tonight I can post pics of my transition progess and haircut. I’m just glad I’m becoming visibly male. The next step is a proper binder, which my partner is actually offering to pay for because I’m so strapped for cash lately. The other very vital step, to me, is getting on T so I can fix my voice. Everything else feels secondary- I’d just like to be able to communicate without being read.
*name changed to protect the not-so-innocent