1. It seems as usual that all my greatest fears never come to pass. I can report that TSA staff (and for that matter Delta Airlines) in Minneapolis and Portland, Me., treated me with respect just like any other passenger (as they should). I was often addressed as “ma’am”. When a young man held a door for me and my mother and said “ladies”, we both said thank you. (I will grow into a liberated woman. Meanwhile, it does help to be recognized in society as the gender you present.)
2. Lately I’ve noticed strangers striking up random conversations and I wonder if it’s because they are curious, looking for an excuse to talk to somebody who is transgender. A woman stopped me in Sam’s Club a few days ago to ask me what I thought of the chicken salad in my basket. I really don’t think chicken salad was on her mind. I gave her a big smile, a thumb’s up, and told her I bought it often.
On the flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis (I took the scenic tour), I sat next to an older couple headed home to New Orleans. That kind of conversation could have gone a couple of bad ways in a hurry. We got to talking as any other women chance meeting, talking about trips, home, family.
Did we become fast friends? Not hardly. But in both cases I planted a seed of doubt. Three different people who the next time hear some inflammatory remark about gender-variant people may remember the day they actually talked to a transwoman without an apocalyptic cataclysm. If they recall that I am a real person with joys and concerns who only wants to find her way in the world as a responsible and loving person with a fondness for chicken salad, I have made a crack in the shell. I’ve planted a seed of doubt in the garden of assumptions and stereotypes.