Caution: there’s some strong language ahead.

I know I look different. Even without being trans nor expressing as entirely female, I look a bit different. People notice that. I see it in the double-takes, the lingering stares, and the muttered comments to others.

I can live with that. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of gender not being biology for some time. There were people who helped me to understand, and who were undoubtedly objects of scorn themselves. As a non-binary person, I can do some of the lifting myself now. I can take it.

It is, however, a little bit different when you know what they’re saying.

A good friend of mine and I were out walking today, and she quoted for me a comment someone made to her: “So are you fucking the faggot now?”

A reference to me, it was. She felt bad saying it to me, but honestly I was glad she shared it. It’s good to know what’s being said, especially on a campus where I work and am untenured.

On the walk back to my place—yes, I walked to walk with someone—someone rather incoherently yelled out of a truck window at me. Honestly, I couldn’t even begin to tell you what it was, but given the number of far-rightwing bumper stickers on the truck, I’m going to go ahead and assume it wasn’t a friendly hello.

How was I dressed? I’m wearing a pair of denim capris and a tank top. Both are definitely cut femme. Some running shoes, too, which my friend commented were decidedly male. I’m wearing blue mascara and a bit of light blue eye shadow, and I’m wearing a necklace that goes very well with my outfit. I think I look decidedly non-binary and leaning femme. Which is how I feel on the inside. But nothing outrageous, nothing like when I’m going to be in the apartment for the night and can put on a pair of tights and a skirt or a dress or just a long shirt with some heels. I wasn’t being provocative.

And yet that still elicits comments. On the one hand, I really don’t care. It’s a detector for whom I wouldn’t want to be friends with. Fine.

The part that actually concerns me, though, is when the jabbing goes from being verbal to physical. Anyone can be intoxicated and do something stupid, and sticking out a bit the way I do can automatically make me a target. So I take the verbal harassment more as a warning and as a reminder: to watch myself, to be safe, and to not wander off alone being too femme. I’d like to keep my teeth.