Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"shoes make the man"

I'm starting a new job that requires simple, all-black shoes as part of the dress code. The only all-black shoes I had were heeled and I'll never wear those again, so I made a trip to Payless. Fortunately, I fit into children's shoes, which are far cheaper. I bought

I already own some "men's" shoes but they look androgynous. I wore these news ones to soon-to-be-old-job today and, for the first time, really paid attention to what people wear. I was feeling pretty spiffy, physically and socially comfortable. Then I got into an elevator with a bunch of men who . . . how shall I put it . . . have a very intimidating masculinity? A lot of trans/genderqueer people report feeling like imposters or discomfort-bordering-on-fear in such situations, but I had a hard time empathizing until the elevator experience. Having just finished reading "Nobody Passes" which had essays on this kind of experience, I was reassured that this wasn't unusual. I'm most comfortable in queer/mixed spaces, comfortable in some men's spaces, comfortable in almost all women's spaces, and not comfortable at all in the intimidating men's spaces. I just can't navigate there.

Another topic in "Nobody Passes" was the near-revulsion a lot of trans/genderqueer people experience when they realize that they're read as straight/bi/gay men/women. The idea of being read as a straight/bi/gay man seems so . . . WRONG. As incorrect as being read as a straight woman, but much more foreign. The bi/gay woman appearance is most familiar and the time spent there was healthiest and happiest until I outgrew it.

Being read as just an odd individual with a love for the Beatles is perfect.

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