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Feb. 11, 2016: A Slippery Slope

February 11, 2016

Mara and I went skiing for a few days last week, and she felt very vulnerable. Even after we bought her women’s ski clothes (all she had was her old male garb), she applied sunscreen and make-up, and she used goggles and a neck gator, the wind and sun took its toll, as it does for just about everyone — especially older people, whose skin isn’t as clear and soft as it used to be. By lunchtime, her face was red — mostly from wind — and looked a bit ruddy, especially around her mouth, where she’s had electrolysis. I was no beauty, either. But because she’s trans, she was very sensitive and felt like she started looking a bit too male around midday, even though she’s very passable.

I told her that it’s typical for women who are middle-aged and older to look a little worn after a few hours on the slopes. But for her, it was a slippery slope. She said some people stared at her, and she even got “sir’d” by a couple of restaurant and retail staffers. It could have been because of her six-foot height, I said. But I could see how self-conscious she was, and I realized that trying to comfort her by making excuses wasn’t helping.

I’ll never be able to empathize with her; I’m not in her shoes. The most I can do is support her and treat her like the woman truly she is and I hope that influences other people to do the same, even if they have doubts about her gender identity.

 

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