Happy Accidents

Trans folks are asking: What gender-affirming compliments caught you by surprise?

Gender affirmation can appear where you least expect it, and these stories prove it.

In response to a Reddit post titled “What was the most unexpected gender affirming compliment you got?”, folks from all across the trans spectrum shared the little moments that unintentionally boosted their confidence.

Lots of trans people shared how they love when other folks assumed their gender correctly without asking.

“Getting gendered properly by the cashier at possibly the dive-iest truck stop I’ve ever been inside, having the entire line behind me follow suit and having someone produce a ticket for a woman’s shower when I couldn’t get the system to work,” one person shared. “I don’t pass. I swear, this has to be what winning Miss America feels like.”

“Not a compliment but just the other day I was walking home and some kid yelled ‘Hey lady!’ And stopped to ask me for a cigarette,” wrote another commenter. “I wasn’t even dressed super femme, had jeans on and an old men’s jacket from the before times. Glad to know my hair and makeup were putting in work.”

Another transfemme person said getting complimented on her height was an especially affirming moment. “An old woman walked up to me and said she wished she was as tall as I am (6′ 1″), then told me about her 6′ 5″ daughter,” she wrote. “It was adorable.”

On the transmasc side of things, folks shared the little moments where others called out their stereotypically manly traits.

“My friends keep telling me to stop manspreading at the lunch table in a joking way,” wrote one commenter.

“‘I’m mad that you have more armpit hair than me’ from a cis friend,” shared another. “Made my entire day.”

Even a not-so-great trait like mansplaining can be gender-affirming, as one commenter pointed out.

“I was literally one day on T, super excited so I told my coworkers who are really supportive,” he shared, adding that later in the day he corrected a coworker in an admittedly obnoxious way. “She laughed and rolled her eyes and went ‘damn you’re already mansplaining! You really are a man!’”

And for nonbinary folks, people pointing out their androgyny is especially validating, even if they didn’t mean it that way.

“My friend’s uncle once told me ‘you look like the halfway point between Barbie and Ken’ which made me way happier than he probably intended,” wrote one commenter. “Based on some other conversations happening that day, it either could have been an insult or just an observation. I was dressed feminine but had basically the classic brown Ken doll hair. He did not know I was Nonbinary.”

Another commenter proved that the kids are alright, writing, “I’m an enby preschool teacher. The first time my students saw me with my hair cut short, they said, quite matter-of-factly, ‘Ms. Seriouslaser, you look like a boy!’”

“For the rest of the afternoon, the kids kept asking me why I was smiling and all I could think to say was ‘I’m just having a happy day!’” they continued. “Such a minor thing, but all the more meaningful, after all the gatekeeping adults I deal with, coming from little children who just call it like they see it.”

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