| Oct 24, 2022
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During my most recent salon appointment, I was chatting with my stylist about the happy resumption of social activities this past summer and beyond. At one point, she used the term “feral” to describe some of the behavior she has observed from people that spent too much time homebound and remote in the previous two years — that is, before the medical practice of Drs. Politician & Bureaucrat, MD finally eradicated disease.

Her choice of words stuck with me, and upon further reflection, it really does seem like the most accurate description I have yet heard to describe this phenomenon. Many of us, to some extent, indeed reverted to behaviors resembling that of undomesticated animals between 2020 and 2022. This unfortunate state of affairs has not fully ended yet.

At one point during this summer’s heat wave, I visited a local restaurant to pick up some food for a birthday dinner with my dad. As I pulled into the open parking lot, I noticed a middle-aged woman walking alone, wearing long sleeves and a surgical mask on her face in the humid 98-degree afternoon sun. I didn’t think anything of it, until I maneuvered my car toward a nearby parking space at least 20 feet away from her. Then she literally froze in panic, and kept her eye on my car to see which direction I was going — only resuming her stride once I was presumably a “safe” distance behind her. It was sad to witness such a response to a simple everyday occurrence.

The remote individual who now prefers his social interaction through an electronic screen; the retail clerk who won’t greet patrons or even look them in the eye, but will lavish all her spare time toward her faithful cell phone; all the way up to our political “leaders” in both parties who irresponsibly flirted with nuclear war against the largest country on earth, and in its own backyard no less — these and many other examples great and small suggest that a large dose of re-domestication is urgently needed in our society.

I consider myself very fortunate to have reverted to daily onsite work and activities since mid-2021. Thankfully, I was able then to work out whatever social issues I had acquired during that period of personal and professional isolation, before they had taken too deep a root. Even so, it occurred to me that when I first started to come out as transgender a few years ago, my behavior likely qualified as undomesticated in similar regards. At that early stage, I tended not to go to crowded venues. I kept a healthy distance from people, I avoided eye contact, and I rarely initiated conversation. I suppose much of that was out of concern for my personal security, or the safety of my public reputation (such as it was). But with time, practice and public interaction, I gained increasing confidence.

Paradoxically, watching people withdraw from the public in 2020-21 had the effect of helping me lose what remained of my public inhibitions in that regard. Just as unexpectedly, wearing a hated (albeit pretty) mask during that period permitted me to routinely enjoy the respect of being treated like a lady everywhere I went. I completed my public transition fully during that period. Once things reopened to a more normal state in summer 2021, I remained out on a daily basis. Since then, I have routinely smiled and made eye contact — especially now that we can all see and be seen by each other again, without restrictions.

This past spring, when I was shopping at a local mall, I happened to be on the verge of crossing paths with a mask-wearing female patron of comparable age, who showed a bit too much curiosity over me. Perhaps she was unused to seeing a transgender individual in her near midst; even so, staring from a total stranger who obscured her identity in a public place is completely unacceptable behavior. So, as we approached each other, I held my head up, looked at her and politely smiled. After a couple of seconds of eye contact, she finally said, “Oh, hello” before looking away in embarrassment. We both continued upon our merry ways — point quietly and respectfully made.

Work is also being increasingly re-civilized. Earlier this month, I was in a regular group meeting with all of my immediate colleagues (about fifteen in all). On this occasion, our department leader requested my confirmation regarding a subject pertaining to one of my main job responsibilities. Before I was able to begin speaking, she smiled and stated that she was hoping to see Christy “nod her head” in agreement with her understanding of the details. I believe that was the first time she has had the occasion to refer to me accordingly in front of everyone — despite over 15 years of tenure, I am a newer member of the group, and just as recently out at my workplace — and I felt immediately flattered and affirmed. I responded confidently with the desired information. (Thankfully, it was as she expected!)

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had my first visit to a new medical specialist. When I arrived, I discovered a sign on the inside front door indicating their policy that masks were required for entry. I had already terminated a relationship with my previous specialist over that very issue. (Full disclosure: I am “fully vaccinated”, for whatever that may be worth.) When I checked in at the front desk, I was asked to wear a disposable face prophylactic during my visit. My calm response to both the receptionist and the office manager was simply, “I do not wish to do so.” I just as politely but firmly made it clear to them both that if it was their intention to enforce such a policy, then I was quite prepared to leave.

To their great credit, they accommodated me with no hesitation. I happily checked in, politely engaged with all office personnel, enjoyed the privilege of being asked about my pronoun preference by a young female assistant — I replied that “Ms.” would be perfectly fine — experienced a thorough and successful routine checkup, scheduled my annual visit for 2023, shook my new doctor’s hand, and checked out. We were all civilized and respectful towards each other in our conduct and speech. I will be very pleased to return there in the future.

Put your best face forward!

And just last week, the women’s reading group at my church had its opening session of the new year. Owing to the disruption of the prior two years, some of us hadn’t been involved in the group since early 2020 (myself included). We were overjoyed to be together again, as we were, and to catch up with each other over wine and desserts. It was a happy evening full of hugs and smiles.

We can all take simple steps to advance the process of re-domestication in our private and public lives. They don’t have to be bold or dramatic; they just need to be warm, humane and genuine. Feral behavior is for stray cats. Let’s embrace our humanity again!

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

I am a project management professional in the greater Philadelphia area. I enjoy travel, domestic arts, reading and gardening. I am an active member of several ladies groups. I am a fan of 1970s & 80s hard rock, do not own a cell phone, and still have my high school football varsity letterman's jacket in my closet.

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