It never fails to astonish me when people whom themselves get judged on their outward appearance judge me. To wit:
Case the First: A cross-dressing, middle-aged man who thought my skin condition was so amusing that he had to titter at me.
Case the Second: A woman in full traditional Muslim dress, including hajib, who stopped me at the gas station to offer advice. (what is it about gas stations that compels people to corner me there?)
If I snark to the man about ugly guys in dresses or retort to the woman about how all Muslims are terrorists, I should be called out for that. Rightly so.
It seems that I cannot expect the same courtesy from people whom one would think understand what it’s like to be judged harshly by one’s outward appearance.
Perhaps I can’t easily fit into an Other box. He’s a transvestite. She’s Muslim. Neat and easy to identify their Otherness. But when it gets to how I get treated as an Other, I end up feeling messy and complicated. Compounded when it comes from those who also get treated as Others.
Or maybe it’s some sort of bizzare Other Olympics. See, I’m more Other than you! Neener…neener…neener! Except that’s not a game I want to win.
I suppose the best I can hope for is that such people will stop, take a moment, and consider how they feel when they get treated that way. But I’ve learned to have little faith in the ability of people to see beyond their own issues with how they may present to the world.
I did make a point of telling the woman that I did not appreciate being grilled by complete strangers about my appearance, as I’m sure she would understand. Maybe it dislodged that log in her eye. Maybe it made her think a bit.