Tips for a professional situation?

Someone shared this question about a work situation:

I’m trying to figure out how much of my gender queer-ness to display at a high profile business event, where I’m on stage sometimes, representing the voice of the audience through the backchannel of the event. I’m also semi-official as the event’s own blogger. The event is in two days, and I’m scared that if I’m “too ambiguous” which in this case means that enough people mistake me for a guy, this will be a “thing” and reflect badly on me or the event. The alternative would be skipping the binder top (that I don’t wear all the time anyway), finding clothes with some color and giving people enough hints about my femaleness to make them feel safe. On the other hand they’ve hired me, supposedly knowing who I am and what I look like… I think the conclusion is that I’ll “fuck it” and just go as my pretty male-clothed and very androgynous self, but still being a bit nervous about it…

What advice would you give?

(Tip: You can avoid having to pick a gendered pronoun here if you just refer to the writer as “you.”)

Posted by on November 10th, 2008 at 09:00 am

Category: your voice 5 comments »

5 Responses to “Tips for a professional situation?”

  1. Fivestar

    I think you got it right in the last sentence. If you find the nerve, go as you! I’ve felt nervous about my gender performance in certain arenas (especially when physical safety is an issue) but I also get a kick out of confusing people. I’m kind of lucky because I work in an alternative industry (Porn/Kink/Trans and Queer Art) so I might have a skewed perspective. Whatever you decide, know you have support from this online community of genderfuckers. Good luck and congrats on the gig.


  2. AOTAC

    Go as you! Go as you! They picked you! Beautiful you!


  3. Florencia

    Go as you. There’s nothing worse than being in front of a large group if people feeling like a monkey wearing silk (ok, that’s a very bad attempt at using a Spanish saying but I think it coveys the meaning) This laways happens to me when I have to dress up for something and wear make up, I feel like one of those chimps from Lancelot Link (aaaand I just dated myself)

    So, you, you, you, go as you and be confident and wonderful!


  4. Vicki

    I can’t answer from a gender-bending angle, because that’s not where I come from. So I’ll answer as a Techie.

    You’re not up on stage to do Public Relations or interview the candidate. You’re not playing “booth bunny”. It doesn’t sound like you’re going to be in the spotlight. You’re the voice of the audience on the backchannel and the semi-official blogger. That sounds like someone I’d recognize as a Techie.

    if it were me? I’d dress the way I dress for work. Maybe just a ittle bit “up”. At work, I’m usually in black jeans and a t-shirt or polo shirt. If I was onstage (heavens forbid!) I think I’d be in jeans and a polo shirt. I haven’t worn a skirt in years. I don’t own heels. I won’t wear hose. I personally like color but it’s not for everyone.

    You want to be comfortable because you want to be concentrating on the audience and the backchannel. You don’t need to make them feel safe – you need to make them feel represented. Just do your bit and do it well. The audience will spare you a glance and get back to the speaker.


  5. Dress-up games — Genderfork

    […] the person who asked for advice on how to dress for that professional event? Well, the same person just sent this follow-up story. It breaks my heart. Setting: The big, high […]

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