How to refer to me

So last night I was talking to my best friend about Mark McGwire. (Seriously, is anyone surprised that he was on roids? Remember in 2005 when he testified about drug use in baseball and every time he was asked a question about steroids he read a prepared statement. That should’ve been a dead giveaway.) Anyway, at one point Josh said “I just realized I keep calling you ‘man.’ Does that offend you?”

First of all, I’m so early in my transition that I don’t expect anyone to think of me as a woman. So I could understand why he was calling me “man.” Even if I was farther along (such as living full-time), if Josh called me “man” or “dude” or “brother” like he always has I wouldn’t care. You see, Josh and I have been brothers for about 15 years now. We used to spend tons of time together, playing video games or D&D, watching Mallrats, listening to Steven Wright, or just hanging out. We are pretty much as close as two people can get. Even though there are some things I had kept from him when we were younger (such as my drug use and involvement in the queer community), I eventually told him about it and it didn’t hurt our friendship at all. He has many LGBT friends and he’s supportive of us all. He’s super open-minded, despite the fact that his dad listens to Rush Limbaugh. So I know he really doesn’t mean to imply anything by using masculine terms to refer to me; it’s just force of habit from a decade and a half of being close friends and “brothers.”

That being said, would I be happy if he came to think of me as his sister instead of his brother? Of course it would. And knowing him, I’m sure it will happen eventually. However, until then it doesn’t offend me for him to call me “man.”

(It would be a different story if I was out in the real world en femme and someone clocked me and started calling me “dude” or “man” or “sir.” That’s just insensitive.)