Thursday, October 11, 2007

Curled Near My Lover

My partner has started introducing me to friends and colleagues as "my partner, Mik". I have noticed that when I was introduced as "my boyfriend, Mik" or "my friend Mik" that my name was either heard the first time or I was asked to repeat it. Now that I am "her partner" we are read as the type of people who would need to use language such as "partner" (in their minds, lesbian) and my name becomes "Meg".* Before, when we were read as hetero my name was clearly genderneutral but leaning on the male side. Now that most ears expect a softer, vowel-ending female name what people actually hear ("Mik") gets transcribed into what they want to hear ("Meg"). This is simply one instance of the cissexual and heterosexual privilege of which my partner and I are both scared. As more people read me as male, will more people believe us to be straight? Will we have people (as happened to us in front of the New School yesterday) explaining transgender to us as if we were not personally invested in the word? There is much more to write on this subject and my fears that I will be read as straight, and that my partner will be read not only as straight but as cissexual.

The other day some crazy lady on the L Train yelled at us to "cut out the bullshit, there are children, bitch" when I kissed my partner on the cheek. We lingered (as we have lingered over other comments) on the subject of what perversion she was directing the comment towards. Is it that we are both physically and legally women? Was I being assigned my correct gender, and was her discontent instead that we are interracial? Was it public affection of any sort that bothered her? To which of the 1200 norms we were breaking did she object? I'll never know, and I wish I could say I don't care but I still hear her voice in my head as I kiss my love, much in the same way I see the words my mother wrote to me denouncing me as a freak and a immoral person every time I bind.

*Intriguingly, when I was "Maggie" I was often misheard as "Megan". This name appears to haunt me

No comments: