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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome to Boston, Friends.

I guess since I continuously mystify other people with my gender presentation, I deserve a little confusion now and then myself. Maybe someone can help interpret what was going through this man's mind when he said and did the following:

My friend Cody and I decided to take a trip to Boston to visit Rickard. We get on the Chinatown bus and after 4 hours we arrive at the South Station Bus Terminal. I love this part of the trip because after a long bus ride it's a quick hop on Boston's sleepy subway system (called the "T") to Rickard's place.

Now. I have to admit, I'm pretty sensitive to people staring at me. I'm not as bad as my ex-girlfriend who nearly got us in fist fights with kids from Nepal and big men from Brooklyn. But, I also don't enjoy getting looked at for longer than is polite (Two seconds? Three seconds?). I will usually get up and move away from incessantly or aggressively staring people. Or sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly frisky I'll say: WHAT.

Anyhow. Cody and I are sitting on the T, chatting excitedly to each other, closing in on our destination. I begin to notice a guy sitting across from us and staring. He's maybe 25 years old and wearing your typical fraternity gear. I try to focus on Cody, but this guy just won't quit it. Finally, I look up and stare back, daring him not to look away. He doesn't flinch, and he grins at me - a smile that is maybe drunk or maybe flirting or maybe it's just a smirk. I can't tell. He wins the staring contest and I look up at the train map to see how far away we are from our stop.

Suddenly, The Guy is sitting right next to me. He managed to stealthily make his way over to my side of the train without me noticing. I brace myself for some sort of confrontation and make that half smile/half grimace thing at him hoping to appease whatever interest he has towards me. I look away, turning to Cody for some support and The Guy slurs in my ear: "You guys make a cute couple."

Um. What? I look over at Cody to make sure I'm not holding his hand or fondling him in some sort of couple-like manner. Maybe in our excitement to see Rickard we unknowingly embraced or made eyes at each other, but I'm pretty sure we didn't. I'm pretty sure my dude friend Cody and my strangely gendered self were sitting like friends, not touching, on the T.

So, what, exactly was The Guy trying to say????? And why can I not help but think this is a Boston thing?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'd Go See This

A short film about gender idenity, bullying, and self-empowerment needs some funding love:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nursing School Highlight

A SUPER guest post from Andie:

I am in nursing school. Every weekday in the early morning I put on my purple nursing school embroidered scrubs and leave my big queer house full of sleepy queer ladies to enter a peculiar gay/straight twilight zone. My nursing school is composed of 10% gay men and 90% closeted lesbians (I wish). We sit in a big room and are taught a curriculum about diseases that .01% of people have, but void of content specific to the gay 10% of the population.

I am used to fluid weekend conversation about tops and bottoms, butches and femmes, shes, hes, theys and then at school the conversation changes to engagement rings and birth control pills and I forget altogether that gender and sexuality is ever a question. I am "out and proud" at school and while it's fun being the go-to person for my friends for all questions about queer sex, and to see how exciting they think it is to tell me that they are so sick of men they think they'd like to try a lady, it gets lonely wondering if all your friends are just worried you're attracted to them. (Yes I am just trying to turn this blog into a forum for discussion of the nuances of the femme experience.)

Thus I wanted a hand to squeeze so bad when I met Brittney (name changed from something equally girly) who works as a wound care nurse at Miscellaneous Private NYC Hospital. Just to clarify: Brittney is really, really butch. And she wasn't fooling ME by trying to hide her hips under those ill-fitting Dockers Khakis but she did ALMOST make her boobs go away under that plaid button-down. The exposed high-necked, V-neck undershirt and gold chain were a nice touch.

Brittney was, however, doing a bang up job of fooling the aging Russian, Jewish, and Hispanic patients and their families that populated this hospital. No one was as excited as me from my purple blob of a cohort to shadow Brittney around the hospital, popping in from room to room, and being asked by the bedside yenta vigilantes, "Who's He??," and that wasn't just because we were changing bone and muscle-exposing Stage 4 pressure ulcers. I love watching her explain care to impatient family members who look at her name tag that I.D.'s her as having a seemingly-genderless ethnic name on it and then the confusion on their face when she tells them her name is Brittney.

My favorite experience with Brittney was the final pressure ulcer we dressed together. The patient had an infection called Clostridium difficile (oh god so appropriately named) that causes the patient to produce the most foul smelling stuff imaginable. To protect myself I just curled up next to Brittney as close as I could without being inappropriate and sucked in intoxicating smell of her Acqua Di Gio. I wanted to find any way I could to give her some kind of knowing, empathetic look that said I am queer too, but I succeeded only in looking like an overeager 12-year-old brown noser, with all-white sneakers and the mandatory ponytail.

I tried to talk to my classmates about how awesome, and sexy and bold she was and they talked about lunch. There are lots of queer women in health care, I know this much is true, but finding them, and trying to give them knowing looks in their place of business is usually just creepy.

Not Brittney:

Friday, June 10, 2011


Hannah said I couldn't turn this brief He's a Lady encounter that happened today into a story because there was no moment where they realize he was a lady - BUT I am here, blogging it, to prove her wrong.

Now I get to riff on the way I feel about people calling me Sir:

It's usually not worth it to correct people when they call me Sir or refer to me as He or Him. If you've read my posts so far, you would've noticed this general inaction. I just tend to let people make their assumptions and see if I can't live around them.

Maybe that sounds pathetic - but I don't really mind those pronouns. It doesn't offend my sense of self or degrade my feminine sensibilities. Since I walk this strange genderline, I think it makes perfect sense that I get called He now and then. I welcome it. Or I would welcome it if I thought that it had no negativity attached to it.

50% of the time, people call me Sir and then I open my mouth and out comes this feminine voice and they look back up and say Oh I Mean Ma'am. The other 50% they either don't hear the girl in me or they are far too embarrased to correct themselves.

Today Hannah I were sitting on the steps of the Grad Center for lunch and two tourists stopped by our "lunch table" and interrupt "our meal" (protein smoothies) to say: "Sir! Where is this?" One of them pointed down at his map that had the Empire State Building circled with the acronym ESB next to it. After he finished attempting to pronounce "ESB" as if it was a word I pointed to the building in front of him. We all laughed together, them because it was right under their noses (hilarious! it's a tall building!) and us because there was no point in correcting his Sir and yeah, it was funny they were so close and didn't even know it.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Okay, this is not a story about me being confusing. It's not even a story. Or it is - but I didn't write it and it has a soundtrack. I was recently exposed* to this insanely strange, but really incredible gender-bending Kate Bush music video.