When I was a teenager I went to a Summer camp. The first night we had a big get together where everyone could get to know each other really quickly. The staff told us to go find someone in the room who we did not know at all. We would ask them some questions and then introduce that person to the rest of the group. I was too nice sometimes. I saw this person who was sitting all alone. I had never met them, and clearly no one was going that direction, so I did. I shook hands and realized that I couldn’t tell if this was a girl or a boy. No problem…they had to have a name. I asked. The response: some made up name of gender neutral syllables. Oh no. The voice was even kinda ambiguously monotone. I was getting really nervous. I had to present the person to the room, but how do you do that without gender specific pronouns? I pressed in with my awesome problem solving skills. I needed gender specific questions. I tried asking things about hobbies and likes that might help or produce a long winded answer with some clear gender clues. Maybe she liked horses? Maybe he played football? Nope. We had like thirty more seconds, and I could only get one or two word answers. Yes, this person loved their mom. Hmm…this person likes music. Yep. I’m stuck. My last chance was that the staff would reveal it as we walked up with a “these two boys are next.” or “Micah from South Carolina and a new girl from Texas!” No such luck. I stumbled through as quickly as possible trying to be funny to cover it up. “This person’s name is ______. They like music and love their mom!” It worked. I had offended no one. At worst, I sounded like a moron, but moron is better than jerk. I found out a day or two later that she was a girl. We never became friends. Micah the Admin
is this your sister?
I was about 12 years old, a little chubby with chin length hair and the self-esteem of a twelve year old. I went with my mom to my younger sister’s school track and field day. I was sitting on a blanket when my sister’s friend and her mother walked over. The girl’s mother smiled at me and asked loudly to my sister, “Oh Becca, is this your sister?” I don’t think I said anything, and I certainly didn’t smile. I got my hair cut off within a day or two. micah the admin
he looks like a boy
I was at whole foods shop with my four month old baby girl. Her stroller was very girly with pink flowers on it, so I figured it was safe to dress her in a pair of jeans and a flowery turquoise sweater. Several women were pulled in by the magnetism of this cute baby and began showering me with compliments and questions. “What’s his name?” an elderly woman asked. My baby was pretty bald, so it didn’t bother me. “HER name is Rebekah,” I answered, smiling so she wouldn’t feel bad. “Well! HE’S dressed like a boy!” she said emphatically. I didn’t know how to respond to this. One of the other ladies chimed in, trying to undo her friend’s statement, pointing out the more feminine qualities in my little girl. “No, he looks like a boy, all right,” she said stubbornly. I was confused. Were we debating the sex of MY baby? Totally weirded out, I left the store. Beth the Other Admin
you are a gal, right?
I am a man. When I worked at Wal-Mart I had slightly longer hair about chin length and no beard. I was standing in the front of the store and was approached by an elderly woman. She got really close to me and asked in a quiet voice if I could tell that she had wet herself. This was awkward. I looked down at her and couldn’t tell, so I told her that I couldn’t. She looked up at me and squinted. Then she asked, “You are a gal, right?” I said, “No. Sorry.” She walked away. Micah the Admin
Back in Utah I was part of a para-military group. We’d practice marching, carrying flags, and go on evening or weekend trips assisting / presenting the flags for community activities and events. One hot summer we’d already presented the flags at the opening of the annual Scottish Games in the evening, then returned the next day to assist as needed. We had camo shirts, camo pants, black boots, and black t-shirts. It got really hot, so we were allowed to remove the camo shirts. Keep in mind I’d had my guy friends give me (girl) a military haircut, for the fun of it. So one person from our group got heat stroke. We’re hanging out at the hospital and I was standing with a few of the boys by the restrooms. I moved to enter the women’s just as a lady came out. She glanced at me and said, “Uh, this is the women’s restroom?” I grinned back and said, “I know.” She looked down at my chest, then back at my haircut, and just walked away. We all laughed about it later. Susie – MN
sir, that's the ladies' room
I worked as a waiter in a T.G.I.Friday’s for a short time. The clientele was far from my particular cultural comfort zone, so I already felt out of place and awkward most nights. One night I was walking to one of my tables and I saw a young man about to walk into the ladies’ room. Being the kind person that I was, I stopped him. “Sir, that’s the women’s restroom. The men’s is right around the corner there.” Then my heart sunk. The man suddenly became a woman and stared at me as if I were trash and walked into the ladies’ room. There was no recovering. I just went back to the kitchen and prayed I wouldn’t have to see her again. Then I was told that I had a new table. I walked out to it, and there she was ready to give me one more hard stare. I managed to get them food and out the door, but it wasn’t easy. I suppose if I had been a little older and wiser I might have had a friend take the table. micah the admin