Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

WTF is “read” anyway?

Yesterday I hung out with a friend. We had an interaction with a third person (my interaction with the third person was very limited, while my friend’s interaction with them was direct). After the interaction with the third person, my friend told me that she thought that the third person had “read” me.

I guess I’m struggling with a lot of this.

I don’t know what being “read” means in relation to me anymore. I’m a woman that happens to be tall. Does being “read” mean that someone thinks I look masculine? I sure as hell don’t think I do. Does being “read” mean that someone has divined something about the nature of my genitals at birth? If so, that’s pretty impressive. Does being “read” somehow invalidate my status as a woman? I don’t think so, but who knows what my friend thinks.

Actually, when my friend explained why she thought this third person had “read” me, I thought there were many possible explanations, and that my having been “read” seemed less obvious than other possibilities. I also can’t understand, even if it were true, why this friend would think it made sense to share this with me. To me it’s as if this friend had said: “Hey, they could tell you used to be a guy.” Which is just fucked up on only about a million levels. First, I never “used to be a guy,” I’ve always been a woman (well, girl first) struggling to exist in the world. Also, what about all the women that were born with their vaginas factory-installed yet appear more masculine than me (and there are plenty of them)? Do we get to guess about their legitimacy as woman by trying to “read” them?

Guess what: I’m a woman; telling me that you think someone “read” me is incredibly insulting. Incredibly.

This friend is also trans, though in a different place on her journey, and she’s dealing with her own self-acceptance issues, and I see this pretty clearly as her projecting some of her stuff onto to me, but it makes it very tough to be around her when she bleeds her perceptions onto me. I’m very willing to be supportive and helpful, but not when part of that is her pulling me down, even if she’s doing it unintentionally. I’m done with any sort of thinking that society doesn’t see me as a normal woman, because ~it does~. I understand that this friend still needs time to process the fact that she’s not a freak, but I don’t. We are both normal.

It’s funny how sometimes it seems like cis gender people that “get it” get it better than some trans folk. I totally understand the trans people that get the hell out of the trans ghetto and just exist in the real world (I actually mostly do, but I don’t feel right abandoning people struggling with stuff I once struggled with). In the real world I’m real.

I am a woman.

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1 Comment»

  Michelle wrote @

At most “read” means that someone has guessed that you have a somewhat atypical past.

I think I would suggest gently pointing out to your friend that it is time to put the language of transition in the past, and leave it there.

Those few people whom you feel have a right or need to know about your past, you can tell. The rest of the world will, for the most part, leave you alone.


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