Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sometimes it's the little things...

Someone once aptly described privilege as the luxury not to have to think about things. Like the way most men are blissfully unaware of the safety concerns that are reflexive for most women venturing out at night. In a far more minor way, I had a reminder last Friday about how being gender variant means not being able to take things for granted.

It was insanely hot for May here in the Bay Area, with record-breaking heat near 100 degrees. So it would've been nice to wear sandals to work because they would've been cooler than shoes and socks. One nice thing about working for a tech company is that the dress code is extremely casual and although a guy in sandals is a bit casual even in that environment, a lot of people were wearing shorts or sundresses that they wouldn't normally have worn because it was so damn hot.

There was just one issue: I've got painted toenails.

Unlike a lot crossdressers who "underdress" I don't wear nail polish because of the feminine symbolism, I wear because I like how it looks. To paraphrase (our patron saint) Eddie Izzard, it's not women's nail polish, it's my nail polish. I guess in that regard I'm just a metrosexual gone too far.

Now most of the company knows I perform as a drag queen, and a smaller number number know that my presenting myself as a woman is more than just for stage, it's also to express a part of myself that society deems "feminine." So it wasn't likely that my co-workers would freak out. Besides, my toes were an almost-sort-of-manly shade of bronze, and outside of work I've got no problem with walking around in sandals and shorts exposing my shaved legs and painted toenails.

But still...

There's always the not knowing how people will react, and if nothing else, I had a lot to do that day and just didn't feel like dealing with the conversations that might result. So I put on my shoes and went to work. It's trivial in the scheme of things I know. But it's another one of those subtle remainders about how I've forfeited my "straight" card now that I'm embraced being a gender variant guy.


Renee said...

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just be who we are and not have to worry about the petty judgements of others. :-)

Paul D. said...

Reminds me of the anxiety I went through when I decided to get my ears pierced...I finally went ahead and did it. This was sort of repeated when I set up my blog and my approach there is to blog in male mode since I teach that way.

But I talk about my own gender issues in fairly straight forward way. The other recent little thing is how to present in Second Life. I have a female avatar and the other month took some of my students into second life for a field trip. Do I use my female AV or my alternate male AV or my furry AV? I opted for the female AV.

And you know, nobody seemed to care. Eddie Izzard Yea-he's done a lot for us.

By the way here is a link that talks about my AV getting a new doo:


and another about taking my students into Second Life.