“He never would have said that when I was female.” Many trans men I spoke with said they had no idea how rough women at work had it until they transitioned.
What he didn’t expect was for the opposing counsel lean over to him and call the judge the c-word.
“We weren’t out the courtroom door when he said that to me under his breath,” Ward says.
Other trans men say they’ve heard male co-workers sexualize female colleagues when no women are present.
“There’s some crude humor, some crass humor,” says Cameron Combs, an IT consultant in Olympia, Washington.
James Ward, a lawyer in San Francisco who transitioned about six years ago, put it this way: “We have the ability to just walk through the world and not have anybody look at you twice.” One day in court, Ward and his opposing counsel were making a big request to a judge.
Ward knew their question would not go over well, so he wasn’t surprised when she reprimanded both him and his opposing counsel for asking.
Over and over again, men who were raised and socialized as female described all the ways they were treated differently as soon as the world perceived them as male.
They gained professional respect, but lost intimacy. From courtrooms to playgrounds to prisons to train stations, at work and at home, with friends and alone, trans men reiterated how fundamentally different it is to experience the world as a man.
“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin,” says Tiq Milan, a friend of the future groom.