The other day I spotted a very stylish looking trans girl in my suburb (well, I’d be damn surprised if I’d mis”read” her). Tall, lovely mini dress, flatter heels than I’d have chosen (but, hey, nobody’s perfect!) and spot-on makeup.
I was so tempted to say hi, compliment them on their look, but decided not to, in part remembering what you’d written.
But I’m thinking about what I do if/when I see someone en femme, while I’m in guy mode? Do I say something, or (at most) smile in as friendly a way as possible (trying not to be at all creepy)?
I know when I’m out and dressed, my situational awareness radar goes through the roof, and I’m checking out everyone who may be checking me out. Sure, I do love to get compliments from girls, and even a smile is lovely.
I’m not so sure it it were from a guy, just because I’m so NOT interested. Even if it were just a “hi, you look great” or similar, would I be flattered, or pissed?
If they were obviously gay (I spend some time in a very trans/gay friendly area of my city occasionally, just because it feels safer)? Maybe that’s OK (just cos I’d see them as more non-threatening, not from any interest).
Smile from anyone? Yeah, I’d like that.
From my point of view, I think when we are out and about, we are grateful for all allies. On balance, if someone took the trouble to say something nice and supportive, I’d take it with very good grace. But also make it clear I wasn’t interested.
I think all t-girls will have a different perspective on this situation, but for me I do not believe you should ever clock a transperson.
“Clocking” is essentially acknowledging and addressing that someone is transgender. Yes, I know I am trans, you know I am trans, and I know that you know that I am trans. You don’t need to clock me. I don’t want someone approaching me and using my gender identity or presentation as a conversation starter.
Let me expand on that. It would make me incredibly uncomfortable if a man were to approach me and tell me I’m beautiful. It’s happened before and it makes me feel very awkward. I say thank you and I walk away, but there’s the feeling that they may follow me or continue to watch me. I understand the comment may be sincere, I understand that they may be an ally, and who knows, perhaps they are also living a life between genders, but like you said my situational awareness is at its peak when I am en femme. I know I stand out, but knowing someone is… noticing me, I guess, makes me feel very uncomfortable. My uneasiness is also heightened knowing that there are men out there who fetishize a girl like us.
Again, yes, I know not all men, but I would prefer to go about my day and not know how anyone feels about me. When I am in male mode and I see a girl like me, unless I am required to interact with her such as saying ‘excuse me’ as I pass by or something similar, I see no reason to acknowledge them solely based on their gender presentation. A kind smile if eye contact is made is one thing, but I don’t think gender identity is an appropriate conversation starter, even if it is to compliment her heels.
Another woman, whether they are cis or trans, is a little different. Women can relate to how much effort one can make when it comes to walking in heels, applying makeup, and picking out an outfit. A girl telling me that she loves my dress or says that I’m beautiful means more. I also think most girls know what it’s like to be a girl in the real world. We are at the mall to shop, we dress for ourselves, and for most of us we would prefer not to have some guy approach us for any reason.
When I am out en femme and I see a girl like me, it’s a little different, but not much. Again, I know I’m trans and so does everyone else, but I see little need to discuss my gender identity with a stranger. A t-girl is generally hyper-aware of their surroundings and when we see another t-girl, an acknowledging smile that says “I see you” is all that is really needed.
And yes, I understand that each of us has a different perspective on this. Some of us would love to have others come up to them at the mall with compliments and messages of support. Personally I just want to go about my day. If you see a t-girl and whether you are in male mode or en femme and you are not sure if you should say anything to her, it’s best to keep your thoughts, regardless of what they are, to yourself.
Have a question for me? Oh yes you do. Ask me here!