I haven’t been asked that question since I was about twelve years old, and although I realise my appearance is confusing to some people I was honestly never expecting to be asked those exact words at the age of forty-six.
The whole conversation was a shitshow. So I will do my best to recreate it here.
Setting: The local pub – in a small village where LGBTQ+ people are either absent or invisible for the most part.
Cast of characters: Me, one of my cisgender female friends, and a very drunk cis/straight bloke (who was at the bar with a group of other drunk blokes).
My friend and I are sitting at a table having a drink and a chat. Drunk bloke swaggers over and sits in the extra chair at our table, manspreading as if his balls are the size of a small country. He hugs and kisses my friend, then turns to me and sizes me up (as much as he can given that he probably can’t focus properly).
Drunk bloke: She’s fucking great isn’t she? I love her.
Adds meaningfully: And her husband’s fucking great too. He’s one of my best mates.
Me: Yeah, I know man. They’re both great. I was at their wedding recently.
Drunk bloke: Stares and looks confused after hearing me speak…. Are you a girl or a boy?
Me: rolling my eyes. I’m a boy.
Drunk bloke: Turns to speak to my friend rather than me. But she sounds like a girl.
My friend: He’s a boy. This is my mate. We’ve known each other for years. He knows Andy too.
Me: rolling my eyes more and getting impatient for him to fuck off. Look. I’m a man, but I’m transgender. I was born a girl, and now I’m man. My voice isn’t that low yet because I’ve only been on testosterone for six months.
Drunk bloke: Looks slightly bewildered but spreads his hands placatingly. Oh, fair play. Fair play. Well, you take care of her. She’s great, and her husband’s a top bloke.
Me: Sighs. Look mate, I’m not into women anyway. I’m gay. So her virtue is safe with me.
Drunk bloke: Stares.
I can practically hear the gears churning in his alcohol addled brain at this point while he tries to wrap his brain around the intersection of gender and sexuality, and probably fails.
I decide that challenging his views about treating women as possessions who need to be claimed, owned, and defended by men would be too much for one evening. I think his head might explode if I introduce another new concept.
At that point he clearly decides I’m not a threat, and buggers off back to his cronies at the bar.
I wonder whether he’ll remember this conversation this morning?