Someone wrote…

When I had long hair and no beard, clerks would call me ma’am and then, horrified at themselves, say “SIR! I, uh, meant SIR!!” This always amused me, and I’d explain gently, “You addressed me with respect. That’s all that matters.”

How do you react when people misidentify your gender?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on March 6th, 2009 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 11 comments »

11 Responses to “SIR!”

  1. wing

    I just say “honey, don’t worry about it”, and they get even more confused because that’s not what boys should say.


  2. Anonymous

    Taking a leak in the men’s restroom I once head a guy behind me come in, apologize (“Oh sorry, wrong room”), walk out, return (obviously in confusion), and go all the way to the other end of the line of stalls. Earings + long hair on men sometimes is problematic for society.


  3. Tara

    It can hurt, especially if I took time on my gender presentation, but I never complain. Not my place. When my friends do it and get sad I want to hug them.


  4. NIne

    I got on a bus a few years ago and the driver said “Hello, young man” and then looked at me properly and said “Oh, sorry darling!” I was delighted he’d mistaken me for a boy and I was amused that it then got him so flustered.


  5. Zwitter

    I get mistaken for the “wrong” gender in both the men’s restroom and the women’s restroom. Funniest was the old fellow who saw me from the back (in the men’s room), stopped short, then relaxed and explained “oh, thought I was in the wrong room” when I looked up and he saw my face. It tickles me that, on a day when I was wearing a button-up shirt and jeans, my face was the most identifiably masculine part of me.

    I just got into a discussion about this with my partner last night — I consider it a mark of freedom to choose my gender expression for the day, based on how I feel (reflected in how I dress), and my partner’s affection for how I look in long hair means I’ve been called “ma’am” way too often recently. So I’m cutting my hair, and they will have to deal.


  6. Becky

    I get called “sir” and “young man” quite frequently. I’m 19…I’m a pretty fresh-faced young man, seeing as I’m a girl…and don’t shave. I like your response, though–it’s classy and the “offender” doesn’t feel bad. I might borrow it!


  7. morgane

    I’m a 22 years old girl, and I look as a 16 years old boy :) . My clothes are not specially girly, but even why I try to be more feminine, some people always taking me for a boy after 10 minutes talking together ^^ !! That’s very funny because I’m also a model for drawing lesson, and in the class, this is the opposite : nobody believes that some other people took me for a boy … But the important thing is to be ok with you , I’m glad to be “boy or girl” when I prefer with the differents situations…


  8. Chavery

    My dad and I were picking up my little sisters from daycare one day, and a woman who worked there said, “Oh, you must be the big brother!” That pleased me, so I smiled at her and kept walking, and my dad, who was behind me, said, “Uh.. big /sister/.” But I wish he hadn’t corrected her. Yay for androgyny!


  9. schmutzie

    There is a magazine shop I go to on purpose just because the man behind the counter always calls me “sir”. I don’t know how he misses my D-cup boobs, but I’m always glad that he does.


  10. Sheik

    I’ve only been mistaken for a boy once or twice, which is a bit sad, but I’m hoping once I cut my hair, that’ll start picking up. The few times I have, I didn’t correct them and they didn’t catch on. :)


  11. Naroen

    I’m adressed to as “boy” on the bus on a regular basis and enjoy myself greatly. It used to confuse me in the beggining, especially before I begun to play with my gender, but lately I almost never “correct” those adressing me.


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