I do tend to stand out in a crowd. I’m 6’2″, about 200 pounds, pale as all heck, and with shoulder-length hair that’s all thrown over to one side. I dress differently as well. Today, in fact, I’m wearing a pair of Prana knickers and a tulip-back long-sleeve shirt.

It’s the knickers that have become an object of official curiosity where I now live and work.

I should say that my affinity for these kinds of pants—something that came about just as capris were breaking to the fore more than a decade ago—could have been a hint about my gender identity years ago. It just never quite occurred to me.

I went out Saturday night with a friend of mine, one whom I haven’t told anything about my gender identity. There are only about five people in town who do know, in fact. But at some point she mentioned to me that the security officer quipped on my appearance, asking if I was really wearing capris around campus.

And where I could have possibly found them in my size.

I moved from a conservative place. On the surface, this place is less conservative—and a good deal rougher. But things that are outside of convention seem to be difficult to take here. I haven’t been subject to any physical incidents yet, nor have I come close. But when I go out, I feel like they’re a possibility.

The school is kind of my sanctuary. It helps that people there like me, and I can be a bit more myself. But when coworkers are starting to ask questions to each other—rather than me—then I suppose I have to evaluate this whole thing. I have gender identity protection at work through their non-discrimination policy. But I’m untenured. I know better.