I am ticked. Miffed. Angry. Yeah, that last one, mostly.
Holiday shopping pretty much always makes me want to come home and leisurely open a vein in a warm bath anyway, but …
I’m standing in line at the checkout in Hell, aka Walmart. It’s two Sundays before Christmas, so, it was very busy. Suddenly, a staff person comes up to me and says “Excuse me, sir?” I turned and gave her The Look. So instead of apologizing PROFUSELY, which would have been the smartest thing to do, she continues “You can go to the express lanes and you’d get through a lot quicker.” Well. I was so flabbergasted, all I could say was “Get away from me RIGHT NOW.”
Now I am shaken; I am angry; I am humiliated. There are other shoppers all around me, snickering and staring. I turn around, and she walks by, smiling at me like NOTHING JUST HAPPENED. I ask the cashier how I make a complaint. She can see how upset I am, and pages a floor manager. TOO BAD IT’S THE ONE WHO JUST INSULTED ME. I said, no, NOT HER. Then the offender proceeds to make it worse by saying she didn’t mean to be hurtful, but she looked at “the shape of me” quickly, and thought… WRONG thing to say, lady. I said “and thought WHAT? I’m completely humiliated and embarrassed and you are making it WORSE.”
So they got a different manager over. I told her that if they weren’t sure about a person’s gender, maybe they could just say “pardon me”, or “excuse me”, but that misgendering people is extremely hurtful. She said they would have a word with their associates “so it doesn’t happen to anyone else”. The point is, though, it happened to ME. And it shouldn’t have. And I am sick and tired of this, and I am mad as hell. I got a number for their customer service, and have escalated this.
I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking that I’m overreacting. But being misgendered is very hurtful. I’m a straight, cisgendered woman. I have a SLAMMIN’ cute haircut and I’m wearing jeans, boots, and a fringey poncho-style sweater. I’m super-curvy and have a larger bust. Also, as Shakira said, “hips don’t lie”. Yes, I am taller than most women. If you find that CONFUSING, don’t make assumptions; because you know what happens when we assume, right?
But just a moment – what if I DIDN’T happen to be cisgendered? As someone off the “normal” scale in terms of size, I suffer these moments of humiliation only occasionally. They hurt, and they hurt deeply, but they are relatively few and far between. What if I was a transgender woman? What if I was genderqueer? What if it’s NONE OF THEIR DAMN BUSINESS WHAT MY GENDER IS?
So, I know. Lots of people have it a lot worse than me when it comes to being misidentified. I try to be sensitive. We all need and deserve our dignity and privacy. It’s 2015, people. It’s not about having to be rigidly politically correct. It’s not about being so worried about not offending anyone that you are afraid to speak. It’s about not calling people out in public places.
It’s about dignity, though. It’s about courtesy and kindness and common sense, not about humiliating people in public forums. I’m a nice person, a good citizen, a loving partner and a good friend, and I deserve a little dignity.
Merry Christmas, Walmart. Go to hell.