The other day on my family group text, one of my cousins sent a snapshot of her review of a restaurant where she was asked to leave the women's restroom because she "looked" like a man. The bouncer was outside the women's restroom yelling at her to get out of the wrong bathroom and then their was a woman in the actual bathroom telling my cousin she needs to get out of the women's restroom.
Unfortunately, this is very common for people who deviate from social constructs and for people who are in the LGBTQ+ community.
Now, my cousin is in the LGBTQ+ community, as I am, but I have never been asked to get out a restroom before. I tend to dress "girly" most of the time, but there are days where I tend to shove all my hair in my hat and walk out of the house in long black pants, a t-shirt and tennis shoes.
My first reaction to what my cousin shared is to let her know I am sorry for her having to experience this point blank. Other family members remarked how stupid people can be. Honestly, at this point in my life I am not really shocked by much of what humanity does or doesn't do. Discrimination is part of all of our daily lives. Especially minority groups like the LGBTQ+ community.
The following day, I went out and ran my usual Sunday errands. Gas, groceries and other things. I was wearing my lazy Sunday clothes as mentioned above, a hat with my hair shoved inside, long black workout pants (well, long meaning, to my shins lol), black tennis shoes and a black t-shirt. I went to the store, I admit not the usual store I tend to go to, but nonetheless, a chain store in the East Bay, CA. As I reached the register area, the man at the cashier position says "how you doing Sir". The very second he called me "Sir", he realized after I spoke that I wasn't "male" and his calm demeanor became this flustered mess. I smiled and didn't say anything, because I realized how often this happens to me, I just sort of dismiss it now.
I'd like to take a few moments to actual share how being a 6'6 woman confuses people to the point they don't or can't comprehend that I am biological female, just because they have never met a woman as tall as I am.
Below, I am going to list my top three reasons, or observations I am mistaken as a "sir" versus a "ma'am".
Now, if you know me at all, you'd know that I love over analyzing, well, everything. Sometimes to a fault, but, other times I actually uncover patterns which surprises even myself.
My theory on why so many women, men, any gender identity misidentifies me, especially in stores or businesses is simply the context. I noticed that whenever I shop in busy stores like Walmart for example, I am called Sir much more often because the cashiers are actually not even looking at my face, my skin, my breasts poking out in my t-shirt, or any part of me that would shout to the world "woman", but they are usually always just looking at the stature. You see, they are reading patterns in order to make their lives easier as they help probably hundreds of customers a day or more. I most always find that people in restaurants as well, call me "sir" because they are always looking at my stature, which is , extremely tall, versus anything else that would say "woman".
We live in a world infested with all kinds of stereotypes. All of us both as a participant and an observer whether we accept it or not. One of the stereotypes for extremely tall women is that we are all transwomen. I cannot tell you how many times I have actually been asked if I was a transwoman, by people on dates or by strangers. People seem to just not believe that I am a biological woman. Like, there are tall men AND tall women world. HEIGHT is NOT just a MAN'S blessing. WOMEN also are blessed with extreme height too! And we are more than mythical!
It is no shade to transwomen at all, for me I am just in constant observation of why my extreme height causes so many people to question my sexuality, existence and validity as a woman. Whereas a very tall man, is NEVER mistaken for a woman and is NEVER asked if they are a transman!!! And, I am tired of people using the term transwomen as a degrading form of being. As if it is bad to be a transwoman. It is not. It is beautiful!
Point blank. My final reason/observation of why people mistake me as a man due to my extreme height is ignorance. The refusal to see different forms of woman other than what the media portrays is female. We all know, for a long time, there has been this cookie cutter version of the "ideal woman" that, well, none of us women really identify with. Boom, pow.
Women, just like men (insert any gender identity here) come in ALL shapes and sizes. So, to me, when someone sees my great height and decides to push out their ignorant comments, I do not respond. I just let the sentences fall on to the floor like spilled over rotten fudge cake. I never signed a contract to respond to everyone's comment to me or about me. I do not owe anyone an explanation. If they cannot comprehend that there are people that come in all shapes and sizes, then that is there problem. That is for them to reflect upon. Not me. I do not need to prove myself or my gender to anyone.
*disclaimer - I am obviously not talking about all people*
A lot of people want to conform everyone because it makes sense to them. Boy's like blue, and girl's like pink. Women wear heels and men wear ties. That is how they identify people in order to know how to talk to them. When they are confused by clothing, speech, eye contact etc..anything that deviates from their "norm" or "comfort level", then what we see are people who are acting out of a fearful place.
I notice that in my world at least, I tend to break those rules. Those social constructs that tell people who or "what" I am. So I am questioned everywhere I go. Whether I play basketball, whether I am dating a "taller man" etc...I realized it is all because I deviate from these people's norm, and all they have to try to relate to me are by pushing stereotypes. They are looking for a box to shove me in so they want to know if I am a woman or not. How can I identify with this giant woman? Maybe, I will ask her if she plays basketball, or if she has a hard time finding pants. Otherwise, I have no idea what to talk to her about...
As if, I am not a human person. Ask me about the weather for crying out loud!
Last piece of advice is to just continue being yourself. Who TF cares if people misgender you, for reals! If you get the sense that these people are hostile and are trying to start trouble, my advice is to protect your energy. People are cray sometimes, and this is a cray world, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. There are a lot of people who think we deserve to go to hell and do not deserve to be treated equally, among also, hating us. This is the truth. Protect yourself first.
If they are genuinely asking out of kindness, then feel free to answer. Not everyone who asks me these questions (above) are doing it to degrade me, they are genuinely wanting to know because they have really never seen a woman my height. For me, I am realizing that this is a norm. I want to change that, I want very tall women to be a norm because if it is a norm, a diversity movement, then we will be respected beyond the world of basketball and we can finally be included in society beyond being seen as a Fetish or a mythical creature...*trigger warning*. Stay tuned for a follow up on that topic.
Thank you for reading,
Tall Woman Power