Two incidents of misrecognition in the last couple weeks:
1. I am picking up my laundry from my grandma's house. My sister has been doing laundry there earlier and has left her bras there to dry. I am packing up my stuff and grandma says, "Oh these are still here too." She starts folding them up and asks, "Are they yours?"
2. It's "trans week" in my queer theory class. Our readings are uninspiring and my professor has let the discussion devolve into the things we've heard transpeople say on panels by sharing things she has heard transpeople say on panels. Furthermore, we will be having this classroom discussion about transpeople as if there are none in the room. One student says something about how interesting it was when these two guys were talking about the bathroom problem. Chances are I'm one of the guys she's talking about, but there's no way of really knowing. Then another woman very specifically quotes me, not recognizing me sitting across the room from her as the same person who sat at the front of a small classroom and said what she is now quoting.
Two different sorts of misrecognition. The first: my grandma looks at me with denial so deep that she can't see that I no longer have breasts. I am misrecognized as female. The second: I pass so well as some random gay boy, apparently, that my classmate doesn't recognize me as my trans self, one year later.
I told my parents over dinner this evening about the second episode. I said, "I guess I'm blending in too well as a gay boy." My poor dad, having struggled with why I would transition from female to become a gay boy, asks, "Isn't that what you wanted?" To which I answer, "Yes and no."
I started transitioning feeling that, of my two options, being called by male pronouns and understood as a boy was more in alignment with how I understand my gender identity than the female-pronouns, understood-as-a-woman option. Transition was to help me communicate this nonverbally and with much less strain to people I know only superficially. My friends, though, needed to be able to continue to understand my gender identity as somewhere between male and female; I needed them to be able to acknowledge my female history when necessary and recognize that the same history informs the way I move through the world.
So yes. I wanted to "blend in" to the extent that I wanted people to know to use male pronouns for me without me having to ask them to do that (and consequently explain why and what "trans" means and how I know...). But no, I don't understand myself unequivocally as a boy. So--especially in the context of an upper-level gender studies classroom--I want to be recognized as something more complicated than a gay boy. I want to be recognized as something I don't have words for.