My old friends occasionally get flummoxed over what name to call me when I'm doing readings & the like, & this past Thursday for my reading at Sugar was no different. My dear friend & former roomie Maurice asked me more than once if he could call me "Gail" at the reading, & I told him he could call me whatever. "But I should call you Helen," he continued. "Sure, call me Helen." He wasn't sure if he'd remember, so I told him to call me "G" which is actually what he's called me for years. It seemed settled.
Of course when we got to the bookstore he called me Gail about half a dozen times, & I don't mind it at all; I really don't care what my old friends call me - I just thought it was funny.
But I also thought that maybe when trans people get upset about someone getting their name wrong, it has nothing to do with gender & everything to do with the funny way your brain works (or doesn't work) with your mouth. Because I knew Maurice meant to call me G, & it was as if, because he was thinking, "don't call her gail don't call her gail don't call her gail" of course Gail was what came out.