Aug 29, 2008

Perception is a funny thing

Years ago before I decided to face my fears and I was living hidden as a male I had an experience that was quite amusing, on the flip side I've had some that were rather annoying. By the same note it also relates to this whole journey now is some strange way. It's how people perceive us, whether it be visually or vocally and how they come to their conclusions of who we are.

Part of the previous topic was how people who don't know me perceive me vs the people who do know me and simply don't see a visual change.

Years ago after buying the home Dee and I currently own we had seen an ad for a waterbed. We already had a queen sized water bed from our first apt but this one was a king, it had a canopy that Diane and always wanted and it was inexpensive. After throwing the idea back and forth decided it couldn't hurt to get more info and maybe look at it. I got the number from the ad and made the phone call.

A young girl answered the phone and I asked her a series of questions about the condition of the bed, the heater, why she wanted to get rid of it etc. After I was satisfied that it was of interest I made an appointment to go see it.

When we arrived at the girls house we went up and the walk and rung the doorbell. As the door opened I introduced my wife and myself and in we went to look at the bed. It the course of the conversation the girl admitted to me that I wasn't what she expected at all. In fact it was quite the opposite of what she expected. Talking to me on the phone she had the sense that I was a businessman and I would show up probably wearing a suit. The reality was that I had hair down to my waist and played in a metal band. The contrast from my manner of speech to my visual just didn't seem to match to her.

At times over the years I would get asked why I had long hair and I'd mention being a guitarist. I'd talk to people about all different subjects with great interest. At times conversations would turn to high school, being a teen and smoking pot. I've readily admitted to anyone who asks that not only do I not do drugs, I've never even tried so much as a joint. This concept often perplexes people, as it just doesn't fit the stereotype. Even after I moved to NH I had the policed called on me and it turned out because I had "long hair"

We as trans people deal with the exact same discrimination in perception because of the damage that the entertainment industry has done of us. People hear the word transgender or transsexual and we automatically become lepers no matter how authentic the inner person really is. Some of us will always live with the visual perception of judgment without ever opening our mouths and yet, we come from all walks of life, all levels of intelligence.

Over time as people come to learn more of the science behind the condition, they will come to be more open to who we are. Hopefully then we will be judged for who we are and not a perception ...

Happy Labor Day peoples …

1 comment:

Davinia said...

That time when we are judged on who we are and not on ill informed and ignorant bigotry can not come soon enough. That time is coming! Let it be today!