Perhaps there has been an unknown reason for my little social experiment; the one where I have saved my LIRR train tickets for the past eighteen years. (If you are just tuning in, read: Riding the Long Island Railroad, Conductor Confusion, What would you like to be today?, She’s Back…) Up until now, the main (i.e. only) reason has been to provided a tangible record of how, once a month, I am gendered by the conductor du jour. It has allowed me to look back and see how over time, I have moved from a predominantly masculine presentation, to one that is perceived as more feminine.
It has made for some interesting conversations over the years: discussions about why there would be gender markers on the tickets, as a lead in to how I identify and why, about why I present as I do, and some larger discussions regarding the ‘non-concentual gendering’ everyone does to everyone else…
I have clearly been trying to get my money’s worth out of these tickets.🙂
Then this past Sunday evening, I received an email:
I hope this email finds you well. I’m a reporter with an NPR-affiliated station based in New York City. I’m working on a story about the gender-specific designations on LIRR and Metro-North tickets and whether they can be considered discriminatory toward gender-nonconforming passengers.
I came across your blog a few weeks ago. The fact that you’ve kept your monthly tickets over the past decade provides a powerful illustration of the issue, and I wanted to ask if you’d be willing to share your story.
I’d be more than happy to tell you more about what I’m working on.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Someone wants to interview me – to share ‘my story’ – for a news piece. That’s never happened before…
I spend ten minutes laying in bed considering this before replying:
Thanks for your kind email.
It was an unintentional experiment, but yes, I have tickets going back to 1998 in various states of being punched male, female, in the middle, not at all and ‘corrected’ – the latest correction posted here.
I’d be interested to hear about your project – and if you think I have something relevant to contribute,
I look forward to speaking to you soon.🙂
I pretty open about all the trans stuff and will speak about it with anyone who is respectful to me. My feeling was, “Why not?”
And so today, I did.🙂
I was interviewed about the tickets, my feelings about the policy, and about being ‘gendered’ in general. It lasted almost an hour and it was all recorded. I’m a bit unsure about my talking possibly being broadcast – just because that’s how I am. It’s one thing to speak to one or two people – but it’s done now. All that’s left is to see how the story turns out.
So, yeah – I did a thing today…
And I have to admit, it was kinda cool.🙂