I’ve just got back from an amaaaazing holiday in Thailand. There were tigers, elephants, beaches, cocktails, coconuts… the works!
One thing I didn’t expect however, was for anything trans related to come up.
But, to my surprise, it kept popping up again and again.
It all started at the airport. I wasn’t ‘presenting as a girl’ in my mind, I was just being me – not being overtly female looking, but not giving off any male vibes. I was wearing jeans and tshirt, comfy clothes for the 13 hours of flying ahead, same as what I wear on the weekly dress down day at work.
And yet everyone who saw my passport instantly looked back at my face in surprise. Fair enough I thought, the photo is from 2008 so I do look kinda different.
But then when the scanners at the baggage check beeped, I was put in the ladies’ line to be frisked by a female officer.
I didn’t expect that, but assumed maybe they had decided I was trans and so were doing what they thought I would want.
Then on the plane, and to be honest everywhere I went in Thailand, everybody referred to me as ‘madam’ which was really cool, no one batted an eyelid and I felt accepted as me.
Things started getting awkward however, when the receptionist in the hotel pretty much forced me to use the ladies’ toilets by coming over to point them out and then standing watching until I had gone in!
Now that’s great if I’m all dolled up and in a dress, but I found it really weird when I was just plain old me. Feeling rebellious I peed standing up… ha!
On the way home I went to the toilet in Dubai airport. I was nervous about Dubai, they are pretty strict on a lot of things and many of the women were fully covered from head to toe. As I was travelling with a male passport and a male plane ticket, and not wanting to cause an international scandal, I went to use the men’s toilet.
But on the way in a cleaner tried to stop me, gesticulating at the door and exclaiming “Madam… no… madam!”
I smiled nervously, nodded and carried on, only to get the exact same reaction from another cleaner inside the gents. With everyone staring at me I decided not to use a urinal, but had to wait in a queue for the cubicles, which made it even worse!
(Sorry that this post has turned into a list of toilets that I visited on my travels…)
The point was however, that I’m feeling in a bit of a grey area now. At work I suppose everybody knows me so I just get on with being a boy. But on holiday, where nobody knew me, and everyone is being polite so uses ‘sir’ or madam’ it seems more people were identifying me as a girl.
I’ll never know if people were thinking I was a trans-girl or a girl-girl, although the protestations of the cleaners do suggest to me that they genuinely thought I was a confused foreign girl.
Makes me wonder a bit if I’m confusing people here in the UK as well, could it really be that people sometimes identify me as a girl?
Cos that would be really, really cool!!