Affirmation at the post office

I had to run out to the post office today to ship a package. I was in a bit of a rush and I didn’t want to worry if any of the HRT changes were visible so I didn’t put on any makeup and threw on a heavy winter jacket. I didn’t look any different than I normally do, if anything I looked slightly worse because the wind had really disheveled my hair. I waited in line, approached the same post office worker who is always there, and she asked “what can I help you with, ma’am?” And my heart just melted. Nobody has ever gendered me correctly without me explicitly telling them I was a woman, so this was amazing. It is almost 8 hours later and I am still riding the emotional high from this banal interaction. Something so small, but it meant so much to me.

Previously, I didn’t see getting gendered correctly as being very significant at this point in my transition. I want to be seen and recognized as a woman, but I always saw it as something for the end of my transition, not right now. And it isn’t like it affected me in any way, they are just words. Because of this, I have always told my HRT provider and therapists to continue using He/Him pronouns and my dead name. It just seemed easier and I never saw a value in having them switch over to my preferred pronouns. This was likely the wrong call. I have been robbing myself of gender euphoria for no reason (I have never experienced gender euphoria prior to this event at the post office). I didn’t realize how much it would mean to me to have others affirm my gender identity.

This event has made me reassess the current state of my transition. I have only ever been addressed ambiguously or as a man before, so I am surprised that a stranger would read me as a woman, especially without me presenting in a feminine-coded manner. I hadn’t thought it possible for me to be read that way as I currently am. I was likely too pessimistic about my progress so far and I am very happy to have been wrong. However, this puts me in a bit of a tricky spot. I had intended to remain in the closet for quite a while longer, especially since I am trying to find a job. If strangers are now reading me as a woman on occasion, that may no longer be feasible or even desirable.

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