What's your name?
J-a-k-e, Jake...like cake, only not as sweet.
Oh. (smile) Uh...that isn't what your mother named you though, is it (smile)?
I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that this was an actual exchange that I had when I was buying a soy chai latte at a Starbucks in a town just outside Portland, the barista poised to write my name on my cup. I have had this same conversation countless times. For some people, no matter how slow I speak or how loud I speak, just can't hear my name or can't take in the fact that I am saying, "I'm Jake." On the other hand, I am always pleasantly surprised when I'm asked my name by a cashier or waitress, and they casually recite back, Jake, as they write my name down, without a blink of an eye. Is this just PC BS? Or is there an actual positive non gender conforming consciousness out there in the world these days? Being consistently questioned about something as basic as your name is quite a strange experience. I would really be perturbed, I imagine, if I was transgender and not genderqueer, and someone were to still question the gender association of my name because I didn't appear Jake enough.
It seems if I were to do an unofficial sociology study (studying people with problems with gender non-conforming people like myself) on people's reactions to my saying, "Hi, I'm Jake", they would fall into several categories. It does appear that most heterosexual people (just my assumption), approximately over the age of 60, both male and female can never hear my name as, Jake. With this population I usually get the, "what, did you say Jane?" People of various ages, that appear to be what I identify as "hipster straight folk" or LGBT (again just my stereotype bias based on type of dress style: large earrings on men, full sleeved tattooed women with strong arms, etc.) they have no problem at all hearing my name, or understanding that I clearly must be trans or genderqueer or maybe just an old butch dyke with the name of Jake. The young twenty something, heterosexual, conservative Republican set, male and female, seem to be deaf altogether. Again, I have no idea as to how these young conservatives identify regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, and I don't usually ask the folks at Starbuck's if they are queer or non gender conforming before I ask for my soy chai latte, but I guess I could start asking. I have an 83 year old, heterosexual, female friend named...Billie. I wonder if she was ever questioned about her name at a Starbucks when ordering a pumpkin spice latte?
Genderqueer Pie Please came into existence at the encouragement of Maggie, the new woman in my life. Please pull up a chair at our table and let us enjoy a slice of your genderqueer pie story.