This week I went shopping with my girlfriend and for the first time it wasn’t a horribly isolating and depressing experience. That was because we weren’t there for me. My girlfriend had spotted a pair of boots that she wanted to buy and she brought me with her to pick them up. She tried them on but wasn’t convinced she liked them. I didn’t think they were that great. While she was trying them on I spotted two pairs of boots and two pairs of heels that I liked. She asked for my opinion on the boots and I told her they were “alright.” She didn’t take them. She was starting to look around. Then I made a mistake.
“Why don’t you take something like this,” I said, pointing out one of the two pairs of boots I liked. She tried them on and liked them so she bought them. I felt a little sad. I couldn’t afford the boots. Even if I could afford the boots she wouldn’t let me wear them when we are together which wouldn’t be so big a problem except we are always together. It was fine though, I was happy she found a pair of boots she liked and even proud that she took my opinion into consideration.
When we got home she got to try on the boots and walk around with them to make sure she still liked them. Then she got to show them off to her friends. That’s when I started to feel robbed. I did the leg work. I found the boots. My girlfriend got to buy them and wear them. She got to model them for her friends. I didn’t get to do any of that. All because I am not viewed as a woman by them. Not that I believe shopping or trying on clothes is inherent or exclusive to women. I know plenty of men who shop as much or more than some women I know. But who would let me model a new pair of boots for them or any clothes meant for women.
“Why would they want to know about that?” my girlfriend said to me one day making it clear that everyone we had told disliked the fact that I am trans. I have been robbed of an experience that I am forced to watch my girlfriend enjoy and all because to most people, I am a man. I am not, though. I am a woman, even if no one can see it.