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
question...as 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.
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
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...