There have been many amazing discoveries in the journey of the last three years. I began living 24/7 as Stephanie on July 10, 2007. In the course of these three years, there has been an interesting common thread. I am treated differently, as a woman.
My daddy didn’t teach me a thing about make-up, but he did teach me how to work on cars. Not too long ago, I was changing out the power steering gearbox on my pickup truck. I had the old gearbox out, and the new one lying on a blanket under the truck.
This fellow walked by, and asked, “Ma’am, would you like me to put that starter on for you?” I politely thanked him for his concern, but chose not to accept the offer. By the way, I completed this entire task without breaking a fingernail.
On another occasion, a wheel broke on my lawn mower. I went to the hardware store to get another one, and quickly found the correct wheel. This very nice man who worked at the store confirmed that I did indeed have the correct wheel.
He saw that the old wheel contained an insert. Then he said, “Now, if he wants to have that insert in the new wheel, he will have to take it out of the old wheel, and put it in the new one.”
I politely thanked him for his concern. But in my head I was thinking, “I will tell him. When I see him. I haven’t seen him for a long time. In fact, I really don’t think he is ever coming back.”
When I was a child, no one ever told me that my opinion was of more value because I was perceived to be a boy. And in all honesty, I don’t believe that I consciously believed that my opinion was of more value. Subconsciously, I suspect that I did believe it.
As I transitioned, I discovered that certain men would sometimes discount my opinion. This I noticed right away. It is more common when it has to do with things mechanical and sports. Sometimes this opinion of my opinion reaches into other areas such as how to get from Point A to Point B or whether or not the President’s recovery plan is working.
At first, I didn’t realize that this was male privilege. I just thought it was weird. However, the evidence began to mount quickly and I naturally resisted this devaluation of my opinion as being inappropriate and baseless. I must admit that I have achieved the reputation among these certain men, as being one of those women who thinks she knows as much about stuff as men do.
I can’t say that I do, or that I don’t. But I would like to see any of these guys change out the power steering gearbox on a pickup truck without breaking a fingernail.On the other hand, the other day, I had a flat tire. As I began to change the tire, this very nice man came by and asked if he could help me. And I said, “Why yes. Thank you.” I must confess to enjoying the moment, living as the “fairer sex”. But it didn’t last long. I had to show him how to take off the hubcap, and where to put the jack.
© 07/14/2010, Stephanie Mott
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