Recognized

| Feb 20, 2017

I work retail — at a bookstore. I’ve worked there for thirteen years. Three years ago, I was promoted to Head Cashier, and maybe two months later, I began living my Truth. My first day at work as Sophie was Monday, March 31, 2014.

Having worked at the store that long, most of the regulars know me. When I first transitioned, some of them asked my coworkers “didn’t that used to be a guy?” and similar questions. Or so I’m told.

Sophie

First Day at Work as Sophie

I don’t know what they said in response. I don’t want to know.

In any case, nearly three years later, while I still get misgendered almost daily, it’s not the regulars (well, there is one — I call him “Stench” as he smells VERY bad.) Being misgendered hurts — a lot. Especially since I’m fairly sure that’s VERY intentional.

I decided to turn this Hurt into Art. I auditioned for a performance of the Vagina Monologues at the Sedgwick Theater in Mt. Airy, Pa. I wrote my own audition piece, which was six minutes long. The theme of the show was “Violence in the Workplace.” My piece was titled “Thank you, SIR.” The main point was “Not all Violence is Physical.”

I got the part. I was asked to do an ensemble piece with four other trans women as well as my piece, but it had to be cut down to two or three minutes. As we didn’t have enough trans women for the piece, I recruited my dear friend Kira to join us, which she did.

As you can guess, I equated misgendering with Violence: psychological violence. I did so because it still Hurts. I don’t let on to the customer at all, but it hurts. It makes me feel like “why bother trying to look feminine if I look like a Neanderthal?” Hell, even Klingon women don’t get misgendered, and I show as much cleavage as them!

The performance went very well, and we performers received a standing ovation. I felt so incredibly Happy — like I’d been part of something special. And I was — it was a benefit for two different women’s charities. I can’t describe how I felt. I felt . . . Freed.

Sophie

Backstage before the Show

I went to work the next day, feeling so wonderful. Then a customer called me a “f**king Tr**ny.” Then things went downhill fast. Within an hour, I was going home in tears.

I’ll come back to this.

Because I’ve been at the bookstore so long, people recognize me from working there. I’ll be at Wegmans with my Wife and Daughter, and someone will ask if I work at the bookstore. A couple of days ago, I went to 5 Guys at the mall, and the guy at the register recognized me. (And I recognized him — he comes in semi-regularly.) Usually when they recognize me, they say something nice about the store. I smile and thank them. Sometimes they say something nice about me, usually about my book knowledge. Occasionally, one will call me “brave” or “courageous.” That means I’ve been clocked, but oh well. At least they didn’t misgender me.

In any case, I’ve said somewhere previously that I keep going because while I KNOW I’m being clocked as Trans, I try to be the best possible ambassador for the community. I try to be smiling and pleasant and knowledgeable. I want to show them that we are NOT the monsters the GOP portrays us to be. I want to show other trans people (and we do get some at the store) that we CAN live out and proud. And that helps me get through bad days. I wear an “I’ll Go With You” trans pin to show I’m there to help our community. I buy these buttons ten at a time. When someone asks about them, I give them one. Doing my best.

Then comes “f**king Tr**ny.” And I wonder why I bother even trying.

Recently, management asked me what they can do to help me. The only I can think of is to allow me to retort to these people. Say something back. Nope. No can do.

So they can’t help. And I’m a Target. A Recognized Target. May as well put a bulls-eye over my breasts, so they can aim at my heart more easily.

Today, I went to Baltimore Inner Harbor with Wife and Daughter. I wore one of the “I’ll Go With You” pins. No one noticed it. On the way back north, I stopped at the location of my dearest friend Lisa’s death. (I try to do so whenever I’m down in Maryland.)

I wonder what advice she would give me about this. Probably something along the lines of “Why are you asking permission to defend yourself? What happened — did you lose your spine or something?”

In many ways, I have. I NEED this job. And so, I remain silent.

As I crouched down at the site of her suicide, the sun was setting. I quietly spoke to her, as I always do when I visit. I told her about what was happening, and asked her what SHE would’ve done.

The air was still. I could hear cars traveling in the distance. No answer. Not that I expected one, of course.

After all, she is dead — in the Light.

So in the embers of dusk, I removed the pin, and placed it on the ground for her.

Then drove north into the Dark.

Anonymous.

Tags: , ,

Category: Body & Soul

Sophie Lynne

About Sophie Lynne: http://sophielynne1.blogspot.com/ : http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/storywall/transgender-today/stories/sophie-lynne : http://articles.philly.com/2016-06-29/news/74075409_1_transgender-students-gender-identity-transgender-people

Comments (1)

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  1. Linda Jensen Linda Jensen says:

    What a lovely piece of writing. Co-worker acceptance, trips with wife and daughter, performing on stage, looking hot: I’d say you pretty well had it all together. It is easy to get down when hearing the single out of the blue “f**king Tr**ny” type comments but that comes from his hang up, not yours. For all you know he may be fighting to suppress his own tg urges.
    As one of my friends says, “it is nobody’s business what I have between my legs.”
    Thank you for sharing.