Since I transitioned nearly 4 years ago (time flies!) I have been the target of some pretty outright sexism. I think that I have documented the cases here pretty well but it boils down to troglodyte car salesmen, computer bits salesmen and IT Services salesmen (Hey! There is a pattern there!)
All of them annoying, but also all of them are quite easy to put out of my mind once I have ranted a little about it.
Recently though I've been struggling a lot with smaller, less intense slights. Whilst in the face of it these are less intense than the ones documented above they are really, really wearing me down to the point where I'm on the verge of tears and physically exhausted from the stress of it all.
A couple of examples of this are:
- When dealing with a stressful situation if I show any emotion at all then I get told to grow thicker skin
- My opinion now counts for much less than it used to. There have been repeated instances recently where I have said something to be told it's nothing and then someone else repeats what I say and suddenly it's an amazing idea that needs doing. And I do mean repeats. Word for word almost (I am not blaming the person saying it a second time, sometimes they are not there the first time).
- Being told that I am over dramatising everything
I was speaking to a female colleague about this, and they asked why I was getting worked up over something that had happened (involving themselves). I explained why I was angry and she simply said 'Oh, I just filter that out these days - you learn to after a while.'
My therapist made a very good point when I was discussing this with him (we did go into it in a lot more detail than I can go into here, but was a lot more helpful than I am about to make it out):
Well, look at the silver lining. They obviously accept you as a woman.
Looking around at the moment I can really see that is true. I do work in an incredibly sexist industry (though I have no idea if it is more or less sexist than others as I have no frame of reference). As Terry Pratchett wrote in one of his Sam Vines books:
You can be any gender you like as long as you are one of the guys.
Sometimes I can really see that. What I can't see is any way of changing it, nor at the moment of dealing with it. After all, this isn't some forum full of trolls on-line that, though you shouldn't have to, you can remove yourself from. This is real life and happening daily.
PS There is no point to this post. This is more about me letting off a little steam than looking for pity. I knew that this could and probably would happen (though was not expecting it from the people I have it from). I do find myself wondering if people in our position notice it more though. Both due to the lack of social conditioning / defences which are built throughout life and because we can really see how people deal with us differently...