Thursday, November 6, 2014

Comparison: "Asker" vs. "Askee" on presentation

This was originally written as a post-script to Part 4.  But it probably should have its own presentation and title, to be findable later.   As for the question oft-asked on blogs here:  What about bringing up the issue to a person who, for reasons of clothing, mannerisms or makeup, etc., might be trans? 

This past weekend, I had the extremely good fortune to be in the position of being on both sides of that the "asker" to the "witch," and as the "askee" by the observant lady at the show. 

The "witch" seemed very comfortable talking about her outfit and the fact that she wears women's outfits often (including some time in hoop skirts!)  But from our limited discussions, she seems to be more of a cross-gender "re-enactor" and "good-will ambassador", than a trans person (it's a question I didn't specifically ask.)

She was very happy to discuss her outfit and presentation.  And she was already in conversation about it with a female vendor when I approached her, so there were no timing problems with my asking.  It worked very smoothly.  And under these circumstances, it was the appropriate thing to do.

As for approaching trans people in other circumstances...perhaps not so much.  It really all depends on the people involved and the situation.  I still would recommend being extremely cautious if considering approaching someone "cold turkey." 

From the viewpoint of the "askee:"  I'm still relatively new to discussion of trans issues (my own or of others), and I experienced a definite shock factor.  (Read my previous post.) That probably will decrease as I gain experience and exposure.  But the lady had done her job of observation (of me) over a long period of time, and did not bring up the topic with civilians nearby.  She was able to say things to keep me comfortable, and had a wonderful way of talking about the topic, including her own situation.  I did not feel at all threatened or offended, and was thrilled to have her initiate the topic.  It's nice to make new friends, particularly those with similar interests...

But that is my take on it, only in these circumstances.  It may not work well under other circumstances.  So Your Mileage May Vary.

The way I see it:  whatever you do, always be careful, consider the circumstances, and if in doubt, don't bring up the topic...


  1. Good points,
    When out and about in the civilian population it is often not the time to discuss gender presentations with strangers. Someone like yourself who presents somewhat androgenously can almost always pass off a simple compliment to anyone. I cannot see you crossing too many lines if you compliment someone on their hair, nails, shoes, clothes. I have done so from time to time but since I present as a large rugged guy my wife has told me that my comments on woman's clothes, shoes, etc are wrong and out of place. I think that her concern is that someone will see through my veneer and infer that my interest in woman's wear is because I am a CD.

    In the town next to where we have a house there is a person known as the town transvestite. We have seen her several times at festivals, parades, free concerts, etc. My wife has had some discussions with her hair dresser about this person. Her hair dresser is married to a local police sargeant who knows the 'tranny'. The story is that after her wife died that she was in mourning and started to wear her wife's clothing. She has her own long hair and is partial to flouncy blouses and broomstick skirts. When I have seen her she has had her fingernails and toe nails match but her choice of nail color is not so good. She always has her nails done in day glo orange or pink. Very loud and perhaps an acceptable choice for a teen girl but not an older person.

    While we have seen her several times I have never engaged her in converation. I think your admonition is correct. If in doubt your best bet may be to remain silent.


    1. There are several courses one could chart in this instance, and the safest one usually is the best!