Gym-Related Updates and Frustration. Translation: I Needed a Good Rant.

Let me preface this by saying that I understand that my frustration is largely unjustified. I have babbled endlessly about how we as a community (and society in general) need to be more transparent and willing to educate and how I wish it wasn’t frowned upon to talk about your own gender and to initiate well-intentioned conversations about others’ genders. I’m going to chalk this one up to a bad day on my part and take a moment to complain about my gym time this morning…

So I got there and I’m over at my corner locker getting ready as usual and a girl walks in, does the double take, and walks back out. This has become totally normal for me. They usually check the sign, make sure they didn’t wander into the wrong locker room, come back in, give me weird looks and go about their business and let me progress about mine. Occasionally, I get the ladies that’ll then try to small talk with me, either to show that they weren’t weirded out by me, or so that my voice will assure them that I’m female. The voice is starting to not help that situation so much anymore.

Anyhow, back to today… she comes back into the locker room, walks over to her locker, but is clearly very hesitant to get changed, she initiates small talk and then wanders off to the bathroom area and then eventually comes back while I’m changing my shirt. Apparently now satisfied that I’m not creeping in the ladies room, she starts getting changed and then, the chit-chat resumes.

“So I’m not going to lie, I totally thought you were a guy when I walked in. I’m sure you get that a lot though. You’re really tall and you weren’t wearing any pink at all so I’m sure you could understand how I got confused”…the rambling kept geting for what seemed like hours.

The truth is, pink or no pink, I can see how she got confused. I have a handful of hairs along my jawline, a dodgy pre-teen mustache, muscle definition most women can’t get and to top it off, by some miracle of genetics, I’m 6 feet tall. Normally I would have taken this opportunity to try to educate her a little, but I had a rough morning and left my soapbox at home, so I’m venting about it instead.

Rant over.

I did use this as motivation to finally email the manager of the gym and find out what’s the story on changing locker rooms and maybe even my name in their system. I got an email back with the anticipated corporate drivel. I’ve also been referred to as “he” on the phone at work several times, despite having to introduce myself as Christina… though I suspect most people don’t listen to my spiel.

Until Next Time,


5 thoughts on “Gym-Related Updates and Frustration. Translation: I Needed a Good Rant.”

  1. You are entitled to vent. No one makes it easy to transition – and the locker room is definitely the most binary space I have to deal with (more so than bathrooms).
    At a certain point I feel like the gender contradictions make some people really uncomfortable, and there is nothing that can be done about it (i.e. my gender expression and legal gender don’t match, and my top and my bottom don’t match) except to either foist it upon them or not use the facility, and I don’t want to give up my rights so that some cis person can be comfortable.

    1. Yeah. I’m willing to do a lot of things to make the people around me more comfortable. I feel like if they’re comfortable with me, it’s going to make my transition a lot easier, but I draw the line at giving up rights, too. No one’s been outright hostile yet, but I understand I’m really lucky in that regard. I live in the fairly-liberal Mid-Atlantic not far from Philly and there’s a lot of people around here that are just okay with it. I think at some point it’s just my fears and insecurities keeping me out of the men’s room.

      1. No, I think that the rest of the world has a really difficult time with the concept of women with penises and men with vaginas, paricularly naked ones six feet away from them.

  2. I think it’s largely other people’s problem – but so difficult for you and it seems like a lot of the US is completely hysterical about washrooms and locker rooms at the moment.
    One thought as a cis person (and a white person and a heterosexual person) – I usually hope it’s better to ask a respectful question or to start a conversation that to just ignore and pretend not to be uncomfortable. This comes up a lot in my line of work with (Australian) indigenous people: I find the people I work with are so scared of saying the wrong thing that they sometimes just ignore black Australians). I’m sure I F#$%@ up a lot – but I just hope that it’s better to try.
    It came to mind because it sounds like the girl in the locker room was uncomfortable but tried genuinely to connect with you, even if she did it really clumsily. I hope so – and I hope you get what I mean – because it sounds tough and it sounds to me like your dealing with a situation that is continually tough with grit and good humour.

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