Gender? What Gender?

So at the beginning of this month my partner and I had a fairly unpleasant run-in with the boys in blue, which I’ll probably elaborate on in a month or so (after we’re done with court and the things I say can no longer be used against me) because it was a pretty traumatic experience that I’d like to be able to write about.

Anyway, the reason for this post is that, in the midst of that really terrible incident I had a moment that was bizarrely validating. The cops were confused about my gender. They knew they were looking for “a male and a female” but were unable to decide for several minutes which one I was when they found me. I was initially, at a distance assumed to be “the male” then when I got closer they bickered about it for a bit before finally deciding that I was “the female”. This was the first time anyone had ever actually expressed doubt or confusion about my gender in my hearing. The most interesting thing about it, to me, was the fact that at the time of this interaction I wasn’t binding or doing anything in particular presentation-wise that would strongly affirm either assumption. It was a weird moment in a weird, stressful, terrible day, made weirder by the fact that I was in a situation where I felt that my safety to some extent depended on my affirmation of my assigned gender when asked about it. When you’re in handcuffs it’s not really the right time to be trying to educate your captors about trans* issues and the gender binary.

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