I'm thinking now of one of the first times I went there. I had not yet begun to take hormones or to live full-time as a woman, though I was wearing a skirt and heels that day. Well, I left the doctor's office around 2:30 on a Friday afternoon--which was, of course, when the students were leaving school for the weekend. Ok, i thought, here comes my first real-life test.
A throng of teenagers was walking toward me. I simply walked straight ahead, without agression although with some trepidation. The advancing wall of kids parted in front of me like the Red Sea did for Charlton Heston/Moses in The Ten Commandments. I felt myself relax and my body motions becoming more fluid. Some of the kids said "hello;" a couple even said "good afternoon." I nodded with a smile and waved.
"Who is she?" one of the kids asked.
"I think she teaches here."
"I think she's English."
He meant, of course, that I teach, not am, English. His reply amazed me, and scared me a bit: I wondered whether I had a sign on me that I didn't know about.
And there I was, worried about being "read" as a man. Well, I guess they read me as something. I can only hope they read their books so well.