A Bloke Thing

Posted: August 5, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So I work in a bit of a strange environment.

In my department, I am the only man. Literally every other person in my department is a cisgender woman. I am the nearest thing to a testosterone level that unit has, and mine comes in a vial.

My department work with many other departments, and the one I am currently spending the most time with is very bloke-heavy. They have the opposite ratio: there is only one woman in there, and a bunch of blokes.

And I mean blokes.

Not men.

Blokes.

British people can probably already visualise the type of man I mean, but for those in other countries: builders are blokes. Plumbers are blokes. That crowd of fat football fans chanting and spilling beer and Doritos eveywhere? An army of blokes.

Matt Bomer in White Collar is not a bloke. He’s a man. A guy. Maybe a dude. But he’s not a bloke.

Now, thanks to the particular job I do, I’ve spent most of my working day for the last five weeks with this department of blokes. They’ve always been friendly enough, but at arm’s length. I’m trans, you see. They’ve been warned. (No, seriously, they have, before I arrived.) They mustn’t offend me! So they’ve been friendly enough, but guarded. Distant. I am an unknown entity, and they have to size me up good and proper first.

Well, apparently, the process is over.

Gaz: “You going to do the charity ride, Matt?”

Me: “Nah, don’t do road-biking. Not into Lycra like you.”

Gaz: “You’re hardly shy, walking around the locker room in your pants!”

Me: “Yeah but I’m fit as fuck.”

Gaz (outraged): “I’m fit! I’m bloody fit!”

This is a major step.

I’m sure that many of you won’t get it–but this is one of the most insidious things about being trans. The silence. The way people skirt around the elephant in the room. The way people will never say a word to you, never lift a finger, and yet it hurts just as much as a transphobic outburst. Because they know. You know they know. And they would speak to you, laugh with you, like you–only they won’t even say hi. Because you’re trans. And trans is weird.

The LGBT fiction community is massively guilty of this approach. It’s not discussed. It’s not written about. There aren’t even a legion of trans side characters, never mind main ones. There are many trans authors, but mention of the fact is studiously avoided in interaction. There is a wall of silence, broken only to shriek HOW DARE YOU I’M AN ALLY if it’s called out.

What Gaz (not his real name) did today was something he’s probably not even aware he did.

He acknowledged having noticed that I walk around the locker room in my pants. (Screw you, it’s fucking hot cycling into work in the summer!) He’s acknowledged I’m in the men’s locker room every morning, with him. By extension, he’s acknowledging having seen me mostly naked. And it’s not something to be avoided. It’s not something that can’t be mentioned.

It’s funny.

Because I deride Lycra as unnatural and clingy, but will walk around in my underwear in front of total strangers without a second thought.

And the cisgender blokes I work with have finally stopped expecting me to have a meltdown if anyone acknowledges that I exist, and are talking like I’m just another bloke.

 

 

 

(Also, I am fit as fuck, so screw Gaz.)

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