One of the things that's thrown me quite a bit, and had a much larger impact than I'd expected transitioning is what people call me, and how the same terms can have wildly different effects on my emotional state depending on who said them - and why.

Changing pronouns is obvious, but that happened in stages.

Very early on, when I had only come out to a few close friends, I explicitly asked them not to change pronouns around me. The reason was that I didn't want to be accidentally outed if they said it in mixed company.

Which meant the first time a friend called me 'she' or some variation was when they did it anyway when we were alone. Unsurprisingly, it gave me quite a kick and felt like something was just right.

Once I came out, it didn't take long for people to be using female pronouns all the time.

Then came the first time some stranger correctly gendered me. A bartender calling myself and another girl standing beside me at the bar 'ladies'. I wasn't even presenting femme at the time, so that made me enormously happy. So much so that I ordered a sparkling wine to celebrate instead of a cider.

But it's not as simple as she/her.

There are a ton of terms of address that get levelled at us every day, and the thing that surprises me wasn't the variety - 'lady', 'love', 'darl', 'babe', 'girl' - but how whether or not I enjoyed them depended entirely on context.

An aspect of the sexist nature of our culture is that masculine pronouns are considered 'genderless' for the most part. (Also, keep in mind I'm talking about Australia here, so some of these may be unique to our fine sun-seared folk.)

Many people - regardless of gender identity - will use the terms 'man', 'dude' or 'mate' as a genderless form of address. By contrast, however, if you call a bloke 'lady', it's dismissive.

This is one of those uncomfortable ways in which masculine behaviour is shown to be aspirational, and feminine behaviour as somehow 'weak' or undesirable - even for women.

Of course she won't mind being called 'man' - who wouldn't want to be a man? "It's okay, mates. She's like one of the boys." The gross disrespect with these kind of statements - that somehow she's "elevated" to the level of being male, is pretty obvious.

But I digress. Somehow, because of this, feminine forms of address sometimes taken on a dismissive or diminutive tone.

A bartender said "here you go, love" the other day after serving me, and it felt pretty gross. Thing is, by contrast - if the bartender had been a woman, I wouldn't have minded one bit.

What we call others has a lot of loaded subtext, and it's something I don't think most men often consider.

Yet it's there, and very obvious for me. I spoke to a few female friends about this, and it's certainly something they think about, but perhaps are more desensitised to than me, simply as most have been hearing this for years.

"Man" from a male friend who I know always refers to his friends as such, regardless of gender, does not seem negative to me, despite knowing the systemic unpleasantness that results in it being okay as a generic term of address.

"Girl" from a female friend who's in the process of complimenting me feels wonderful; from an adult male, especially one I don't know, it sounds reductive and gross.

It's not as simple as "stop using diminutive feminine terms for women", either - because almost every feminine term has subtext for us here, and it often depends entirely on the specific usage - when, where, why, and who says it.

One day, I'd like to go through a huge list of possible forms of address for men and women, and discuss what they mean based on context.

That'd be quite a document.