Awkward “compliments”

By , August 22, 2011 3:26 pm

While wandering around Indianapolis (and not updating this blog; sorry) I’ve been talking with a lot of people. As I did in Kansas City, and will in Chicago, I’m handing out tons of postcards and trying to attract audiences to my show. With three shows and about 100 audience members so far, I feel pretty successful on that regard.

What has been amusing is the response to my trans-ness. Following the opening night preview party, where I did a 2 minute bit, I had a lot of people – mostly older women – come up to me to compliment me on the piece. That was lovely, but they all inevitably followed with “I never would have known!” I appreciate that in the spirit with which it’s said, “You’re beautiful,” but much prefer what another Fringe performer told me last night when describing my show and my firing: “That’s ridiculous. You’re all woman.”

One person pushed the awkwardness even further by saying “You coulda fooled me!” Again, I understand she was intended to compliment me, but she very much failed.

I’ve been able to take those comments in good humor, though. What really did bother me – and sort of ruined my night – was a woman I talked with last night. She’s a Fringe volunteer and we talked about both being lesbians in Indy. We were talking some more last night and she joked, while referring to me, “I told a friend of mine it’s a shame the hottest lesbian at Fringe is a tranny.”


Again, intended to be a compliment. But I end up hearing it as “You’d be attractive if you were a real woman.”

I was in a good mood, quickly disappearing, so didn’t really call her out on it. I asked what she meant, and reminded her that I am a lesbian too, but she said “Right, but you haven’t had The Surgery.” (Suggestive glance at my crotch.) “And I’m all L.”

I ended up laughing it off and going home, not a big deal since I was already starting to head out. But it really got under my skin, and I think I’ll call her on it if I see her and can get her aside. Tell her how it made me feel, and how I’ve been with people who were “All L” and still found my body sexually attractive. Tell her that she simply could have said “Rebecca, you’re really pretty” or – better yet – say nothing at all, rather than give a backhanded “compliment” that simply highlighted why she didn’t think of me as a ‘real’ woman.

8 Responses to “Awkward “compliments””

  1. nix says:

    “I told a friend of mine it’s a shame the hottest lesbian at Fringe is a tranny.”

    “And it’s a shame you’re such a fuckwit.”

    Seriously, WTF?

  2. Jadey says:

    Beyond awkward right into downright mean and ignorant. 🙁 I’m so sorry she dumped that on you. No one should be shamed or insulted for their body.

  3. Gabrielle says:

    “I told a friend of mine it’s a shame the hottest lesbian at Fringe is a tranny.”

    Fuck her and the gender essentialist horse she rode in on. And the LGB community which continues to support her way of thinking.

  4. evie says:

    Reminds me of this depressing but hilarious video ripping apart such ‘nonpliments’:
    With acting!

  5. Shalom says:

    “I told a friend of mine it’s a shame the hottest lesbian at Fringe is a tranny.”

    Holy crap! In what cruel world does this count as an intended compliment? You have every right to be offended–what if someone had said, “It’s a shame the hottest girl here is a [insert racial slur]?”

    I find the comment completely unacceptable.

  6. While it may have come across as a hamhanded compliment it could have also been an incredibly passive-agressive putdown. While I wasn’t there, I tend towards the latter given the oh-so-obvious impoliteness of someone who should know better.

  7. rosie says:

    Funny…last year I told a friend of mine it’s so hot that the hottest lesbian at Fringe is a “tranny”….is that objectifying? (yes, yes it is…)

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