Tina Kakadelis
YA Author


Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

Clean Up on Register #1


So, I know we just talked about gay things on Friday, but I'm going to talk about them again. I don't even know if this counts as a gay thing, but we're going to talk about it today because I'm really amped about the piece I have going up on Friday. And I've got a lot of feelings. I'm a cisgender girl. That's how I've always identified. The basic definition of cisgender is that your body parts match your sex. Gender and sex are two different things. Sex is biological and relates to your body parts. Gender, as I've already mentioned, is fake. It's society's expectations based on your sex. Like girls having to have long hair and wear dresses, ya feel? As someone who has XX chromosomes and believes my sex matches my gender, I am cisgender. (Side note: does anyone else use that old ABC Family show Kyle XY to remember which chromosomes go to which sex? Because I 100% still do.)

By biology's definition, I'm a girl, but by society's definition, it's probably more up in the air. Hence what happened to me at work on Saturday.

I've been called a boy a lot in my life. In restrooms mostly when I was younger and didn't have boobs, but had super short hair. Back then, it didn't really bother me because my mom stuck up for me and I was probably too distracted trying to get the automatic paper towel device to work to truly care. (I don't know what it is about me and motion activated bathroom devices, but we do not get along.) It's been a long, long time since it's happened.

So there I was, working away at the cash register at INSERT BIG BOOKSTORE NAME HERE minding my own business. So far, the day was going well. I briefly fell in love with a mom wearing a bandana buying Big Little Lies. Usual stuff, y'know? Then this dad and daughter come up and I start scanning their items. The dad inserts his chip card into the reader when I finish scanning and that's when it happens.

"Daddy, is it a boy or a girl?"


I get it, I'm not mad at the kid. Well, I mean, if I'm being honest, yeah, I was a little pissed. But it's a kid, y'know? They only know what the adults around them teach them. Despite the extensive hospitality experience I got at a theme park owned by a mouse, my jaw dropped. I look up at the dad who says nothing. NOTHING. It's not like he didn't hear her, but all of his attention is focused on chip reader. You don't have to do jack shit with the chip reader, bro, but you definitely need to work on your parenting.

I've also never noticed how painfully long the chip reader takes to validate cards until this very moment.

She keeps pestering him about it and I'm honestly too shocked to say anything. Like what do you even say? I've never been called 'It' before. Never. Boy, I can handle. Dude, that's fine. Man, that's alright. I've been asked the "are you a boy or a girl" question. All of those I've responded to in the past. I can take those in stride. But something about being called an 'It' just messed me up. "It" is the scary clown from Stephen King and the dude from A Wrinkle in Time who controls people's minds. "It" is something else entirely. The dude at never even stops to correct his daughter or take this as a teaching lesson and I'm still shell shocked and it's Sunday evening as I'm typing this.

I don't really know what the moral of this story is. This blog post probably more of an I need to rant about this because I'm irritated. Never did I think that I'd become one of the people who used to Internet to rant about things, but here we are. I don't even know why I'm so upset because gender's irrelevant and fake, but I am upset. And the fact that I let it get to me is probably making me more upset.

I know, this is not the most egregious example of misgendering, but it pisses me off. It pisses me off that this little kid is learning this type of behavior and will continue to ask this inappropriate question to other people who don't fit nicely into the boxes of society's perceptions of gender. It pisses me off that people get this question asked straight to their face by people who definitely aren't kids every day. It pisses me off that it matters to anybody what's going on under someone else's clothes.

Can imagine if this whole exchange happened in a bathroom instead? There are people out there trying to police who gets to use what bathroom. Listen, bathrooms suck. Let people pee in peace. Let people express their gender in peace. Let people live in peace. For goodness's sake.