Transphobia at the Opticians

Note: This is a throwback article from May 2019.

It’s not something I deal with a lot in person. Especially when I announce myself as Mr Theo Rosenberg.

But recently I went to Specsavers, and it was an okay experience.
The person who checked me in for my appointment didn’t bat an eyelid when she looked at me and my appointment. I know I don’t look masculine in my face unless I’m trying, but she didn’t say anything, and she left it as Mr.
The pre-eye examination before my eye test went well.

“It’s MR Theo Rosenberg, right?”

The lady said: Mr Theo Rosenberg, I stood up — she smiled and took me to the seat. Once again, nothing terrible about it.

The optician asked me: it’s Mr Theo Rosenberg, right?
I assured him, yes it was. That’s my name. He was okay with it.

But that’s when the good experience ended. The optician handed me over to a woman who refused to call me He, Mr, or Sir and kept referring to me as Miss or She when talking to colleagues. Even though it clearly stated on all of the paperwork in her hand and on her computer, it said Mr.

I understand that some people in the Enby Community (including me on occasion) use She/Her pronouns while using the Mr prefix. But generally, a good rule of thumb for unsure people is to call them by the pronoun that fits the prefix unless told otherwise.

“Let’s have a look at these pretty pink ones…”

So, between being misgendered constantly, she kept taking me to the Women’s glasses racks… And when I said I’d like to look at Mens, seemingly she made sure that I looked at ones outside of my price range.

I eventually picked some glasses — I wasn’t entirely keen on them but wanted the day to be over…

But the price went through the roof. So, I said — I’ll go get a different pair.
She wasn’t happy about that. And when I got my new ones, the ones I wanted, the ones from the Men’s rack… She kept telling me they didn’t suit me.
Funny how the ones from the Women’s rack suited me, but these ones didn’t even though they were the same style… The only difference was the Binary label Specsavers had put on them. What’s the problem?

She tried coaxing me out of getting those ones, I refused. She very stubbornly ordered by Mens glasses before sending me on my way.

As I left the building, she shouted, Goodbye, Miss. Like a stab to the back!

I recently went to pick up my new specs, and that wasn’t great either…
The women behind the counter were bickering for 5 minutes trying to find my glasses in their draws, and I heard one say: That can’t be her, it says Mr.

“These are Men’s glasses… Why have you got Mens?”

Well, guess what — it was. And she wasn’t happy with that. At every given chance, she called me Miss; even after correcting her.
She then kept saying: these are Men’s glasses… Why have you got Mens?

This was after I told her I’m a Mr and use He/Him pronouns, but God forbid I get some Men’s specs.

It’s magnificent how people who have known me for less than an hour seem to think they know my gender better than I do!
As if I don’t get enough Transphobia, Abuse, and Death Threats on the internet.

If I say I’m Mr, just call me He or Sir.

If you don’t want to, but you don’t want a complaint — say my name. Just call me Cas. Don’t just misgender me because you don’t agree with it or don’t understand it.

Adapt. You’re in the customer service industry, I am your customer — you adapt to the needs of your other customers, so why not the Trans and Gender Variant community, too?

Overall, I think Specsavers need some work. Their LGBT+ Awareness is limited, and it doesn’t help when the customer is already nervous — they shouldn’t have to deal with discrimination when paying for a service.



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