Tag Archives: Travel

Those annoying reminders about my background

The past week I have been traveling again. First to Switzerland and then to Rome in Italy, both were business trips. Last year I had some bad experiences were I obviously was not passing and got some really bad comments from people. For some reasons these things seem to be more common during spring and summer time so I really hope the experiences over the past week is a precursor of that this year as well.

There were two different kind of situations. The first one was when I together with three older male collegues were visiting Switzerland and one of them several time addressed the Swedish team with expressions like “Hey, boys lets have something to eat” (Grabbar, nu ska vi…). The hard part is that it is from a person that I have worked with for some time and really respects me for my knowledge and experience. So it is not at all meant to disrespect me but said spontaneuosly and almost without even noticing his error himself. I guess it has something to do with the English expressions “Hey, guys…” which can be used for both males and females in some occasions. What really sucks is that when collegues such as him has spent sometime with me there is obviously something about my appearance or voice that makes them not clearly see me as a female. At least not completely. Sure, these kind of comments can happen to genetic females as well but during the trip one of the Swiss officers even said “Let’s have the woman in the middle in the photo…” and he was referring to the other woman in the group. Again clearly spontaneously not thinking of me as a woman. Again not meant to be disrespectful because this was a high-level visit between two countries. Still it happens.

When I think about this I realise that this “Hey, boys…” happens to me at least every months or so at work. Or some other situations were someone starts by saying that, than pauses for quite a while and adds “…and girls…”. It happens in emails were they can start with “Gents, lets have a teleconference….”. It does not hurt the same way as when someone says “he…” maybe because it is an effect of a male-dominated workplace but somehow it adds to put a dent in my self-confidence.

The second situation was the Ergife Palace Hotel in Rome when I went to my room during lunch time and found the cleaning staff working in my room. I was wearing my pink shirt, jeans, Coach sneakers and Coach handbag. I met the young women working there for maybe 10 seconds before they went into the room again. Inside the room I heard them whispering in Italian and I understood that they were discussion whether or not I was a transvestite. I became cold and it felt so unfair. What did I do so wrong that they read my so fast? It is of course an impolite and unprofessional behaviour from hotel staff but that is not the thing. The thing is that it put another dent in the self-esteem saying I am not seen as real woman. Again.

All of this puts my recent issues of feeling very uncomfortable at bars and my feeling of not being able to believe in myself as being attractive in the eyes of lesbian women. I mean what is the chance that I am passing at all? And if I am not, what is the chances that she thinks it is ok even though she reads me as woman with transsexual background.

Am I too hard on myself or too scared?

Me in front of the US Congress
I am back in the US again, this time for two weeks. The first one in the DC area and the second one in the Norfolk area. Decided to stay in the DC area over the weekend – assumed there would be more interesting things to do there. Today I have walked around at The Mall and saw the congress and then I went to the National Air & Space Museum. It was a good afternoon even though I was there by myself.

Most of the LGBT people I know they usually try to explore the LGBT-scene when they are visiting a city. Sure, most of them travel privately with LGBT-friends or partners so I guess it is a little bit different than for me. I usually end up travelling to nice places in the line of my work and that means spending time with heterosexual collegues nighttime. It is no problem really, I like to have the company and evening discussions are sometimes more productive than the formal meetings during the day. However this time was the first one in a long time where I will not have the company of a collegue all the time so I at least started to check out the local scene here in DC.

Generally, I still can think it is stressful to sit by myself at a restaurant. I guess it is because I project that I am a strange person that is sitting there by herself because she has no friends. Still, looking back 10 years I would have been terrified by going to a restaurant by myself and now I can just be uneasy at times.

So I found two cool places for lesbian women here in DC. The first one is called Lace and is an upscale bar-restaurant-nightclub which seem to be something I have not seen before. The other is a bar and nightclub called A Different Kind of Ladies Night and seem a bit more casual. I thought about going there but the whole concept of going there alone seemed a little bit too scary. I don’t really know if it is that I don’t trust my social skills of havinga at least a decent time or if it is because of my transsexual background. Sometime I feel that if I go there with another woman I am unconciously “vouched for” that I am ok because I have company and by another female. So I ended up staying at the hotel. I wonder if I should dare more or if I am just too hard on myself…on the good side is that I definately could see myself at both those places in somebody’s company. That is at least some kind of progress…