Tag Archives: misgendered

The Little Things

Things have been a little tough lately…

For starters, we still haven’t found a very viable place to move to (in 39 days), and that is STRESSING me out! But, I’m trying to learn to be more go-with-the-flow, and relaxed about this because… in all probability, it will work out somehow.. (at least that’s what I’m telling myself lol).

Aside from that, I had really hoped that I might have health insurance by now. I’ve been actively engaged in making phone calls, filling out forms, looking up information, and asking questions, to try and get myself enrolled in health care since March… It’s looking like I might at least be close by now, but I’m still not there. A lot in my life kind of hinges on health care right now, I have some immediate dental issues that need addressing, the legal name change process apparently will be much easier for me once I have health insurance, and I can start thinking more seriously about hormones once I have health insurance! So, as you can imagine, I’m fairly anxious to finish jumping through all of the hoops and finally be enrolled!

I’m not really out about my gender identity at work so I’ve resigned myself to constantly being misgendered there. It’s nice though to have an affirming place to come home to where everyone knows my pronouns and identity and respects them. We were hanging out with some friends the other day who are very familiar with my gender identity and pronouns, but they kept accidentally slipping up and calling me “she”. They would of course correct themselves, but it still was kind of jarring… it always is kind of jarring to hear someone who definitely knows my pronouns misgender me, it begs the questions, “do you just really see me as a cis woman and just use my pronouns when you remember to?” And often I can tell people feel bad about slipping up and they trip all over themselves to correct it, and I don’t feel angry with them or anything, because I don’t feel like they are intentionally misgendering me to make me upset. But it does make me a little sad to think that people don’t actually recognize my gender identity.. I know it might not seem like a big deal, but it kind of is… at least to me…

I guess that’s all for now. Until next time..

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The Work-Challenges Saga Continues

Hey Everyone,

So I haven’t even BEEN to work today and I’m already so fired up that I just have to write about it. SO, something I haven’t really talked about yet, but that has been an ongoing problem for me is my name situation. It’s a challenge in many ways in my life but for right now I’m just going to talk about how it’s a challenge for me at work.

Let me start by saying the managers at work have almost always (except for once) called me Lane, and they printed Lane on my name tag (so far, so good). However, whenever the weekly schedule (the one that says who is working what hours for the whole week), or the daily schedule (the one that lists everyone who’s working that day and when their breaks are), are printed, they always list my birth name. The daily schedule has always been the one I’ve had more of a problem with, at the start of every shift, the first thing I do is go cross out my birth name on the schedule and write Lane. I learned to do this when I was paged by my birth name, over the loud speaker one time, and then a few co-workers connected the dots and started jokingly calling me my birth name. A choice quote from one of them was “That’s forever burned in my brain.” “Great,” I thought. Luckily it mostly blew over, and I started crossing out my birth name and things were peachy for a while. Until one day, when I wasn’t working, my partner came home and told me that during her lunch break, the topic of names had come up in the break room and someone told everyone my birth name and then they all started debating which name they liked better. As triggering as that was to hear, I was really glad that I hadn’t been there because that would have been really hard to sit through.

I didn’t think the weekly schedule was such a big deal, up until a week ago, because people just mostly look at their own schedule, right? WRONG. So, because they’ve started doing the layoffs at work, everyone has gotten in the habit of checking everyone else’s schedule to see who’s been fired. That’s been really great for me because the people who don’t know my birth name have all tried to console me over getting fired when they didn’t see Lane listed on the schedule and the people who do know my birth name have so helpfully volunteered the information to some of the people who didn’t know. AWESOME. My partner came home today and told me that one of our co-workers said asked her if my birth name is my “real name” today. She replied “that’s Lane’s birth name.” The co-worker then had all kinds of questions to which my partner just kept saying “Lane’s name is Lane.” She asked me what I would prefer be her response in those situations, after thinking about it for a while, I said “If someone asks you if my birth name is my real name, just say no.” She struggled with that a bit, and I said “it’s none of their business, they don’t get to demand that answer. So they’re confused. I don’t care.”

All of this just really sucks because after I was outed at work (a story for another time), and then I confirmed the fact to my managers, they said I could come to them with any concerns, ever. They really emphasized that no concern was too small. I was like “awesome, it seems like they actually care.” Silly me. I went to them a few weeks ago, asking if it was possible for them to change my name in the system. The store manager said he thought so. A few days later, one of the other managers announced to me, in front of other associates, I might add, that it wouldn’t be possible. The next day the store manager told me he was still working on it, despite what the other manager had told me. The next day, when I punched in, the computer said Lane. I was overjoyed! I felt like I was floating for that whole shift. But the following day when I punched in, it was back to saying my birth name and it has since. So, I’m left to guess that it’s not possible. In a fair world, this wouldn’t be my concern, it would be the concern of my manager’s, trying to make me comfortable so that I could do the best work that I am capable of. However, we don’t live in the world. So, for now I will run to the daily schedule at the start of every shift to cross out my birth name and write in my chosen name, and work with anxiety in the back of my mind, hoping that a co-worker doesn’t joke about my name today, and that someone else doesn’t put my partner on the spot to answer demands about my identity.

That’s all for now, until next time…

Gendered Policies Are a Struggle

Hi Everyone,

So the past few days have been somewhat eventful. I was approved for a medical discount card for use at our local clinic, so now I can have a doctor or dentist appointment and only have to pay $30! Now I just have to wait until we have $30 extra in our budget, which should be in a couple of weeks as long as everything at work keeps going well. Speaking of which, both my partner and I made it past the first and second round of layoffs! Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that we don’t get laid off after the winter holidays and things should be alright! However, they have started scheduling us for progressively fewer hours which is concerning because we are going to have to get second jobs if this is the new norm… which will be no mean feat, considering that we don’t have regular schedules at our current job and they don’t put up the following week’s schedule until the middle of the week. They say that’s going to change, but my partner and I don’t really have that much time to wait for the scheduling to get more predictable.

I got called in to work earlier than my shift was supposed to start because someone called in sick. I was not really thrilled about starting work earlier but I was happy that we would at least have a little bit more money to add to our budget. Unfortunately, the person who called in sick was scheduled to work in the fitting rooms… “why is that unfortunate?”, you might ask. Well, the company we work for has a gendered policy about who is allowed to work in the fitting rooms: only women employees are allowed to be the fitting room attendants. The reasoning behind this is that, apparently, it’s alright for women to go in the men’s fitting room, but it’s not alright for men to go in the women’s dressing room (who knows about non-binary folks, we are left to guess what this means for us, as usual). I’m not going to get into the complicated implications behind this policy right now, because while it is a valuable conversation, it is not the point of this post. The point here is that, I have told my managers I am trans* (well, I was mostly outed to them and I just confirmed that it is true) and yet they schedule me to work in fitting rooms, where “only women are allowed to work”)… Not only do I feel like this goes against their policy but I also feel uncomfortable working there. As a non-binary trans* person, people are often unsure of my gender identity, based on my presentation. Typically, once they hear me speak they decide that I must be a woman because of the way my voice sounds (I assume). This means that gendered areas are tricky for me, if I choose the women’s area, I am often glared at, people do double takes, people visibly make it clear they don’t want to come near me, and sometimes I am informed that I am in the women’s area (as in, “shouldn’t you be in the men’s area?”). And I don’t really know what happens if I choose the men’s area because I’ve only worked up my courage to do it once or twice and it gives me so much anxiety and fear that I don’t think it’s worth it. So, as it is I currently try to wait until no one is in the fitting rooms to run back and check that they’re clean and/or do the cleaning. As you might imagine, this is an anxiety-riddled experience. Now some of you might be asking, “why don’t you just tell your managers you don’t feel comfortable working there?” and believe me, I have considered it. However, I am worried that telling them that just adds to my list of complications, and is therefore another reason to lay me off. So, for now, I’ll just do it. It’s just another example of how trans* people’s identities are often invisibilized/trivialized etc.

Well, I guess that’s all for now.

Until next time…

Work Stressors

Today I worked an 8-hour shift that felt as if it were more like 10. Nothing really of note except near the end of my shift, a customer stopped me and said “Excuse me… sir? Miss? Ma’am? I’m sorry, I’m not really sure what you are…” I responded with a smile and waited for the inevitable question about a certain product’s location. Once the customer realized I wasn’t going to answer the question about my gender identity and which title I go by, they asked the question and I was able to help them find what it was that they were looking for. I felt flustered at the time, and reflecting on it, I feel somewhat angry, which I find interesting because I typically enjoy when I cause people to second guess their assumptions gender. However, upon further reflection, I think part of my anger stems from the fact that we have this seemingly needless gendered title as part of our engrained greeting custom and I just feel like it’s so pointless… why? Why do we have to address someone with a gendered title? Why couldn’t it just be “excuse me”? That seems just as effective to me… Because I don’t go by sir, miss, or ma’am, so it’s not like the inclusion of any of those titles is what caught my attention, it was the “excuse me” and the look of inquiry upon the person’s face…  I think the other part of my anger stems from embarrassment. Because as much as I like making people question their assumptions about gender, I recognize that in front of other people, who may or may not hold the same assumptions about gender as the person who is questioning me, I feel vulnerable when my presentation is being questioned. I don’t know if the people who are witnessing the event are going to join in with the questions, which at times can feel like demands for answers about my gender identity, or if they are going to feel like the questions/demands are ridiculous and come to my aid. So I am left feeling vulnerable, awkward, frozen, stuck, panicky, anxious, scared, and embarrassed. And that feeling, after it is left to stew in my head for a bit turns into anger. It all sounds/feels a bit irrational to me now that I write it down, but then again, emotions and gender aren’t really all that “rational”… and come to think of it, where did I get this sense that rationality is the end all be all? I smell hegemony. I feel like it’s probably related to the way dominant discourse values science and scientific thought above other “lesser” forms of viewing/thinking about/processing the world such as religion and religious thought or art or community processes etc. which, of course, are all valid, valuable ways of viewing, thinking about, and processing the world. Humph.

After that incident, it was mostly all I could think about and I worry now that I may have ignored or avoided other customers because I was stuck in my own head, replaying that scenario and trying to figure out how I felt and why… which is especially worrisome today, and for the rest of this week because my position is temporary/seasonal and this next week is when the last round of lay-offs are happening, which means the pressure is onnnn.

That incident rekindled a cyclical worry for me that maybe the company is going to fire me simply because of the way I look, without factoring in my performance at all, because perhaps they don’t want to have to worry about customers potentially feeling uncomfortable with an employee whose gender identity is not immediately obvious to them…

Ughhhh if I were to lose this job, my partner and I will have a really hard time paying rent.. not to mention for food, vet bills, medical bills (I have to go see if I can get my broken tooth fixed and she had some medical bills come up that she thought she had already paid!), etc.

Well, for now I’m still employed and we are still keeping our heads above water. Fingers crossed I make it past next week!

Until next time…