It's been years since I began transitioning. Arguably, ignoring the fact that it's an ongoing process and doesn't really "end", it kinda has for me. At least most of the time. I rarely think too much about it. Not the process of physically and socially transitioning, anyway. Even taking hormones in pill form every day is just... like any other medication. I don't often think too hard about what each thing I'm taking does, precisely.
But while I don't often think too much about many of the physical specifics, even several years in, what does always bubble to the surface is that I am still not used to the sexism I run into on a near-daily basis. It's not background noise like many of my female friends describe it. "You get used to it," is the common refrain.
The idea of getting so "used to it" that it doesn't register as much or make me as angry is actually quite scary (I like my anger. I want things to change, and if I get blasé about it I worry I wouldn't be as much of a force for change). Until this does happen (if it does) I am conscious that sexism is something I talk about quite a bit. Which makes sense - the concept isn't new to me, of course, but experiencing it first-hand is.
I don't mind being loud about sexism. I don't want the men in my life who've no idea about it to be able to escape it, because folk who're clocked as women by people in public sure as hell can't escape it.
What does give me pause, though, is that for me I so often still notice how many things in society are gendered. Even if it's not quite as overtly sexist as cat-calling, there are so many things from micro-aggressions to general social etiquette that, even years in, still leap out at me constantly.
I view so many things through the lens of gender, because, well... it's hard not to. Having seen how the world treats folk that look masculine and feminine, it's probably never going to quite escape my mind.
I am self-conscious about it, though. So often someone will casually mention something that happened to them - a small work incident, a nice thing someone did, an issue with a friend, and I will be fighting the urge to make a comment about the gendered aspects of that behaviour.
It's not uncommon for me to check in and sheepishly ask a friend, "I don't talk about this too much, do I?" and no matter how many times I hear, "Oh, no, it's actually quite fascinating!" I tend to still never quite shake that insecurity. My brain skips to the old adage... "when all you have is a hammer".
There's a lot more to life than gender, for sure. The way we present, style ourselves, how we sound, what colour skin is... these all affect us, every day. But things we've only experienced a certain way often end up being invisible to us. I am sure there are many, many things that happen (or don't happen) to me because I am white, that I simply do not notice, and rarely ever will unless someone who does points it out to me.
I think that's useful, but I've had a few instances where other women get genuinely quite frustrated with me. One even said to me once, "I've spent years trying to ignore this shit. I don't need to be reminded of it constantly." It's... notable that we don't often talk any more. I respect why she feels that way, though. It's exhausting to be constantly aware of this stuff, and I'd imagine for most people over time finding ways to at least be able to try and tune it out is a helpful thing in terms of mental health.
So I continue to be self-conscious, checking in when I can. "Is this annoying? I can try to talk about it less." It's probably not the idea way to word it, but I will continue to find ways to refine the question, so I can still ask it. For me, being ultra-conscious of this helps me deal, but I understand full well how for others it can be something they'd rather find ways to ignore.