"Excuse me sir we have waiting chairs in the store, you can go sit over there," said the sales associate.
I was reading an article on my phone, so it took me a while to recognize that the person was talking to me. When I looked up their response was, "Oh, you're a womyn."We awkwardly made eye contact. I did not speak. I felt overwhelmed. I just walked away toward the exit door. In that moment, I experienced an internal struggle. I wanted to walk out because I was annoyed. I wanted to walk out because this shit happens all the time and that time felt like my breaking point. As I was walking toward the exit door I made a decision to stay. I moved back towards the waiting room until my friend was finished in the dressing room. I shared what happened with her, she looked disappointed and I could tell she saw the sadness in my eyes, but before she could say anything I told her that I was going to go sit outside. The overwhelming feelings turned to anger and just this—sadness. The summer season is when I am misgendered the most. At least, that is how it feels.
Trust me when I tell you that when I go into a dressing room, I am going into the one that is socially acceptable for me to enter.
It feels inexcusable. Lady. Ma'am. Sir. Girl. "Excuse me Sir, you're going into the wrong dressing room." REALLY? There are too many examples to share, but trust me when I tell you that when I go into a dressing room I am going into the one that is socially acceptable for me to enter. I remember reporting this example to a manager as the sales associate legit followed me into the women's dressing room making a spectacle at the store. How embarrassing. If dressing rooms were designed and labeled practically, responsibly, and equitably, this would not be an issue for queer, trans*, gender non-binary and non-conforming folx. Shoot, for anyone!No big deal, right? Just get over it, right? Nah.The big deal is that the world is evolving—slowly, but nonetheless evolving—and you, you are not. The big deal isn't me voicing my desire for a just experience. It isn't queer, trans*, gender non-binary, and non-conforming people, it's you. It's your inability to accept existence outside of the binary.
My dreadlocks, tattoos, wardrobe, physical strength, scent, and especially my BODY do not need to be gendered.
What are your pronouns?
When I am asked what my pronouns are, I typically say they and she. Truly, though, when I say she, it’s more for you than it is for me. Enough of that. There is no short answer for me that will make me feel understood in some of the daily spaces I occupy. I don’t feel a connection to most pronouns. They, for me, is my default. It’s political. I am Roc. I am a trans-masculine, gender non-binary person who doesn’t connect to any one particular pronoun. I am good with that, and you can learn to be too. I don’t try to be any person other than myself. People constantly try to guess what I am. How ridiculous is the thought of guessing what a person is? What is it you are trying to determine? What about finding out who a person is instead?
You determining my sex or gender for yourself isn’t necessary or warranted. It’s just disrespectful.
What does it say about you that your need to know takes precedence over my humanity or the next person's? You determining my sex or gender for yourself isn’t necessary or warranted. It’s just disrespectful. My birth name isn’t a dead name yet, but that doesn't mean you have the right to call me by it. If I tell you my name is Roc, then it is your job to respect that. It’s extremely important and necessary to respect people and call them by their name and the pronouns they have shared with you. Consciously calling someone by any other name than the one they tell you or not using the pronouns they are empowered to choose is queerphobic and transphobic. Cut that shit out, today. Prince said it best, “I am not a womyn or a man. I am something that you will never understand.”
*Article first published on www.Typedout.co on Monday, July 16, 2018