None of your business…

I was at a party on Thursday night (Friday morning, actually) when a guy I’d met a few years before started talking into someone’s ear, while glancing over at me. Yes, that crafty old trick.

Well, I asked the person whose ear had been spoken into – a friend of mine – and they confirmed that the gossip-queen had, surprise-surprise, been chatting my business. Or, rather, one very boring piece of information which, nevertheless, other people seem to be continually obsessed about, without having any real understanding or insight into what it actually means. I’ll let you, reader, work out what the topic of discussion might have been.

I took him to one side and made it clear that he was bang out of order. He apologised and we moved on but, as we were both intoxicated, I felt I needed to follow up when we were both sober.

Here’s the message I just sent him on Facebook. There was a time I’d have gone home and maybe had a little cry, so I hope that anyone else experiencing this will find my response useful. Sometimes people just need to be told.

Hi Andre

I’d like to say it was nice to see you again last Thursday – and it would have been, had you not then gone on to make me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

Though I did make myself quite clear at the time, in the hope that you would stop talking about my transsexual status, I really want to impress upon you just how unacceptable your behaviour was.

I take transphobia as seriously as racism and any other form of ignorance-based bigotry. I like to think there would be less of it about if people were more educated.

I have gender dysphoria – a mismatch between the brain sex and the external genitalia at birth. It is an internationally recognised medical condition and, as such, is treated on the NHS.

My private medical history has nothing to do with you. I repeat: nothing.

What I have/don’t have/used to have/will have between my legs is none of your business.

You wouldn’t tell someone you’d just met at a party whether or not someone else at that party had had an abortion, an STD, a circumcision, or a hysterectomy – and nor should you discuss private details about my private parts. In the end, that’s what it boils down to.

My driving license says I am female. My passport says I am female. I can legally marry a man – and I do not mean in a civil partnership. Legally, medically and from a psychological perspective, I am a woman. You have no right to go around suggesting anything otherwise.

Even if I just “cross-dressed” for fun, it still wouldn’t be any of your business. I’m telling you this because I believe you have the potential to be a better person.

When was the last time that you were enjoying yourself, among friends, and someone made you feel awkward – genuinely uncomfortable – about the colour of your skin?

The person you told is a good friend of mine. Have you considered what might have happened if you told someone who had a real problem with that information? Would you have liked to have made everybody at the party feel uncomfortable? As it happens, it was limited to two people, three including you. Thankfully, it didn’t spoil our whole night.

It may come as a surprise to you, but there are some people who simply aren’t interested in your gossip. My other friend, who I arrived with, also knows about my situation, as does my boyfriend, who is also straight, and various other straight male friends I have. Mature ones.

In the kitchen, you kept going on about how I did not like you when we first met. I couldn’t really remember. Maybe our first meeting stuck in your mind because you find me interesting? Clearly you do. I’m now thinking that any negative vibes you may have got from me that first night is because I picked up on the fact that you had an issue with me. Again, clearly you do, and I’m not stupid and I will detect that.

The reason I turned up so late at the party is because I always feel quite anxious and insecure about partying with Carmel’s friends. You see, when I go out alone, or with my friends, people respond to me as a girl. When I mix with Carmel’s friends, I can, sometimes, get a rather different response. Sometimes I am rudely gossiped about.

A few years ago, before I was as happy and confident as I am today, I probably would have left after catching you say those things. Luckily, I managed to feel OK enough to stay.

But I would be less inclined to go to another party if I knew you were there. However, I probably would, because I see no reason why I should let people like you stop me from enjoying life, just because of who I happen to be. But, I’d still have that feeling of uneasiness.

I’m not saying you should never talk about it. I was on telly a few months ago, talking about transgender stuff. It’s not a secret. So, if you were talking about me being on television and somebody asked you what it was about, it would be appropriate to tell them. But you could say that in front of me. Anything you have to whisper into someone’s ear is probably best kept bottled up.

So, in summary: me being transgender = none of your business.





25 thoughts on “None of your business…

  1. Brava!

    I remember the days, long ago, when I used to have to write letters like these. Fortunately those days seem to be long past (touch wood), because I dealt with people like your friend in much the same way and slowly edited such annoyances out of my life. In the process, I also became less tolerant of bad manners (which this is) and faster to point it out.

    I wish I could have written so eloquently as you’ve just done though 🙂


  2. Stevie Nicks says:

    I was humiliated by a work colleague like this. He walked round the room and told every one. He could not see the problem with this! Hurt me alot at the time.

  3. ashleek9 says:

    That’s an awesome message, right there. I have a lot of aquaintences that would make similar comments to what this guy said, but I don’t think I’d have the guts to send such a message, largely because they are as dense as fuck and whatever I said they’d just be “fuck you ya weirdo lol”.

    Kudos to you, Paris. Kudos.

  4. Rich Bridger says:

    Good for you Paris, nobody should put up with that, and you are blessed with the eloquence and confidence to be able to stand up for yourself without resorting to slanging matches or violence!

    I always enjoy your blogs, keep em’ coming! 🙂

    • Thank you very much! I’m actually glad it happened now in a funny sort of way; I very much believe in turning negative situations into something positive.

    • I’ve just had a response from him, I think it’s quite sweet and genuine:

      “Hi Paris

      i want to truly apologize about bringing up your transsexual status, i don’t no why i was bringing up in first place, because i normally don’t care about that sort of thing.

      i do remember u telling me not to say anythink about it when i brought it up, and im truly sorry if i did later on. everytime i go to one of carmel’s partys i do tend to drink so much and take alot of drugs which is not an excuse.

      i think your a really nice person and a good friend. hopefully we can put this behind us, and start from scratch.


  5. […] Continue Reading Tweet TAGS » Paris Lees POSTED IN » Media /* […]

  6. Christabel says:

    It happens to us all… it’s just thoughtlessness. We’re gossip-worthy to those who can’t think of anything better to say; but they don’t understand how we feel about it or indeed the risks they are exposing us to. It needed saying and he won’t do it again. Hope you can find a way to stay friends.

  7. Jane says:

    What a brilliant way to deal with it Paris.
    I know it’ll happen , and I dread it, but I hope I have your guts when I find myself in these kinds of situations myself.

  8. Darlin’,ight freakin’ on.

    The Swamp Witch of New Orleans

  9. Chrissy J says:

    Hmm. I approve of the follow-up for the ‘morning after’ but for me it’s too polite and, well, ‘reasoned’. Personally I’d have started an unpleasant rumour about the gossiper, complete with whispers into ears whilst looking at THEM.

    I take the view that such people must have such sad and lonely lives, that talking about others is the only way they get to interact with other people whilst seeming important. Being told that they’re ‘in the wrong’ doesn’t have much of an effect, and they’ll carry on doing it – no matter how effusive the apology.

    But that’s just what I think. Sorry.

    • ParisLees says:

      Hi Chrissy, thanks for commenting. I agree with you that, for some people, there really is no changing them. Usually, I wouldn’t waste my time, but in this case I thought it was worth it. The guy in question is fairly intelligent and also not a completely bad person – he’s also pally with a number of my wider circle of friends, so there is an element of him not wanting to seem like a fool in their eyes.

      Ordinarily though, I think you’re right, sadly.

  10. I SO feel for you sweetie. Who I tell about my life is MY choice and for someone to gossip about such personal details would be a betrayal of trust.

    I felt you handled this so VERY well … good one you!

    Sam x

  11. janefae says:

    Congrats on the well-handled situation and good reply.

    A shame, i suspect, that in some quarters, comments like this will be taken as yet more proof that “we” don’t have a sense of humour. Like Christine, i think one mark of transition is that it hardens you or at least makes you far far less tolerant of bad manners on the part of others.

    That’s stage 1 and a good response to it is what you got here. Sadly, there is a stage 2: where someone has insulted you like this, you politely point out the hurt caused; and they respond by objecting to your objection. Not totally sure yet of the correct response to the second-stage insult beyond a) an official complaint and b) mace. 🙂


  12. […] was cheered, slightly, last week by another excellent piece from Paris Lees: this one about how she dealt with curiosity that, if not exactly transphobic, was […]

  13. Liz says:

    This was sent to me, I think wordpress should delete it, as its so hateful

  14. […] the truly relevant post was actually something she wrote some months back. It was about the curiosity, the fascination folk […]

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