Stephanie “The Transchick” Haskins

Experiencing Misogyny

An Unexpected, Unwelcome Transition Discovery


July 2024

Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment of “The Transchick Chronicles,” an on-going series of essays written by trans journalist Stephanie Haskins as she documents her transition, and modern transgender life. Scroll to the bottom for links to her previous entries.

BY STEPHANIE HASKINS

It’s now been almost five years since I began my transition.

And as part of this admittedly drastic transformation, I’ve gradually come to a reckoning that I didn’t see coming.

I don’t much like or trust men.

Pretty much all men.

Pretty much no exceptions.

What really drove this point home, after a lifetime of trying like hell to out-macho every other penis-person on the planet, was our pumpkin ex-president.

He and his “people” were/are so sleazy, and so repulsive.

But then I started noticing how off-putting some of my male friends can be—maybe less offensive than Trumpkins—but still.

Had I not noticed before? Guess not.

I started feeling an actual antipathy toward most men in ways I’d never expected— especially when I had to start interacting with them as a female consumer.

 

 

For example:

When I recently needed to get my car repaired, I dealt with a body shop dude who lied to me, avoided taking my calls, and treated me like, well, a woman.

I was completely disrespected when I called him out on his incompetence and duplicity.

He basically told me he had a parking lot filled with cars that needed fixing, and he’d get to my job when he damn well felt like it…lady.

I seriously doubt he’d have said something like that to me back when I was a guy with a beard and a broadcasting-honed baritone voice.

Oh, and during all of this, I was blessed with his condescending man-stare.

Let’s call it “the look.”

See, now that I fully present as a woman, almost every day I see some version of “the look” from some guy. Especially if I have to ask a question of some sort. Or express an opinion.

Their brows arch—almost imperceptibly—and a tiny sigh is heaved.

I might simply be asking for what they likely consider to be a fatuous, perhaps irrelevant explanation of some sort, which will inevitably and tragically utilize a lot of their precious oxygen.

Yes, I now encounter this not-too-veiled male-generated sense of superiority—almost every goddamn day.

I sure as hell did with the body shop guy.

So I retaliated in the very best possible way:

I took my business elsewhere.

It felt great.

However, full disclosure:

I’m embarrassed to now admit that early on in my transition, I actually considered these condescending experiences to be somewhat amusing, even affirming:

This man really thinks I’m enough of a woman to treat me like one!

Oh. My. God. This is bloody cool!

I’m being talked down to by a guy!

I have sooooo succeeded!

This went on for a year or so, and then I noticed myself getting angry.

I was no longer enjoying feeling dismissed. And demeaned.

Until I became a woman, I never had to experience what it’s like to be
considered just slightly less intelligent, less ambitious, less talented, less curious, less capable.

I never gave much to the thought that females—every single one of us, some four billion of us—have had to live and cope daily with some man’s perception that we are LESS.

Being just a recent arrival to womanhood, I’ve only now started to live with that ugly, humiliating truth.

But know this: Stephanie Grace Haskins does NOT like being talked down to.

OR dismissed.

OR demeaned.

Stephanie Grace Haskins now starts to go into attack mode. Which is NOT pretty on any level.

I’ve written about this business before—how I’ve evolved from being a fake man into what I hope (desperately hope!) is a valid, perceptive, honest-to-God ACTUAL woman.

A woman who I now absolutely accept as who and what I am.

If you’re a loyal reader here of The Transchick Chronicles, you might recall that early on in my transition I had a tough time calling myself a woman.

Female? Oh, sure.

But woman? Not so much.

It took a couple of years for me to get to that point.

With that said, I feel compelled to scribble more about my ever-changing perceptions about how I see my place in a culture that is STILL very much defined by aging, often misogynistic, very entitled White men who are in charge and pretty much run things.

THEIR way.

Not MY way.

Not anymore.

After almost five years of acknowledging my truth and negotiating an often excruciatingly emotionally difficult transition, this new person I’ve become on the outside still astonishes the inside me by how differently she experiences the world—my new world.

This new female person is bothered and saddened every day by how I now interact with males—and how I’ve had to negotiate my new life as such an incredibly different person.

 

 

Another example:

I recently decided I wanted to reconnect a flat screen television to my incredibly lame cable service. I won’t go into detail about why it’s so second-rate, except to say that I could rarely watch more than a few minutes of ANY program, at any time of the day, without experiencing video and audio drop outs, pixilation, and sometimes, no signal at all.

Like most Americans, I paid a LOT for this cable service—more than $200 a month. And as many of you who’ve endured similar problems know, often times there’s absolutely nothing we can do about getting it fixed or adjusted to our liking.

So, I decided to completely disconnect and go without. I installed an over-the-air antenna system instead. And I hated it.

Side note: I love television. I worked for television stations for more than 30 years, and I’m addicted to watching color pictures magically appear on a giant screen in my living room. And bedroom. And I like watching LOTS of channels. Not just local. I missed ESPN, and the Food Network, and many others that the antenna system couldn’t provide.

Jesus, forgive me. I am SOOOOOO sorry.

I wanted my cable connection back.

I wanted to watch (gulp!) QVC, snuggled into my jammies surrounded by 12 really comfy pillows.

So, I went to my local cable store thinking I could just pick up another signal box and some cables and cords, and that I could get everything reset like it was before.

After listening to an endless pitch about adding various other services to my already gigantic cable bill (all of which I declined) I arrived home and tried to hook everything up. It all seemed to be pretty simple and straightforward until I was down to one last cable that had to be connected to some mysterious little thingy in the back of my set, and—goddammit!

It didn’t fit.

No matter how hard I tried, it wouldn’t turn, it wouldn’t screw, it wouldn’t work.

I reread the instructions. I looked at every other possible place I could connect this cable to—over and over and over—and, well, bupkis

After an hour of sweat, and unbelievable profanity, I knew that my efforts were fruitless.

 

 

I would have to call the cable company and ask for help.

MY. ACHING. TITS.

Have YOU tried calling YOUR cable company lately?

Wanna talk to a live person?

LOL. Good luck.

But I did anyway.

And, of course, THAT process sucked away another hour of my life.

I had to use every goddamn ounce of my newly acquired feminine persuasion to get an appointment set up to have a service rep come to my home and get my set hooked up again.

The rep on the other end was insistent that I let him try to fix it, guiding me over the phone, but I didn’t cave. I wanted a human to do it in person—a human who wasn’t me.

I asked—silly me—if it might be possible to get a female service rep to come to my home but I was told that wasn’t possible because, well, there ARE no female cable service reps in the entire metropolitan Sacramento, California area of some three million people.

Not ONE woman who happened to work for my miserable cable company.

Astounding, isn’t it?

In 2024. Not one woman, the company claims.

I was more than disappointed.

Because, as I’ve just made amply clear, I simply don’t like most men, and I try to avoid them in most real-life situations as much as possible. They annoy me, often disgust me, and in some circumstances, actually scare me.

I’m not proud of this unfortunate psychological turn in my mindset but it’s a condition that actually has a name. It’s called misandry—the unreasonable hatred of men.

Since I now identify my own sexual orientation as transbian (transgender lesbian) most men don’t have much of place in my new life. They really don’t need to be around for much of anything, and so they are not.

Easy peasy.

Until situations arise like this one.

Soa somewhat scruffy cable guy showed up at my door.

I’ll call him “Vern.”

I don’t remember his real name, but he kinda seemed like a Vern. He was average looking, unshaven, out of shape, late 40s maybe, with a slight Southern accent. He wore a baseball cap on top and huge scuffed up boots below.

“You Stephanie Haskins?” he drawled.

“Yep, that’s me,” I replied.

“So yer having trouble connecting yer bedroom set, right?” he said.

Then I noticed him glance at my chest. I was wearing a black workout leotard, because I’d just gotten home from the gym.

“Well, let’s take a look,” Vern said.

I walked him into my bedroom and showed him all the cables I’d been given at the store, and started to explain that I’d gotten most of them hooked up except the one, and—

“Hey, tell ya what. Let me look at it, Stephanie. I’ll let ya know what I find,” he said.

And so: “THE LOOK.”

Again.

He obviously didn’t need or want any half-assed explanations from some cake-baking female who doesn’t understand just how complicated hooking up cables to television sets can be.

Was he condescending? Yes. Patronizing? Absolutely. Would he have talked to Steve, the former me, in quite the same way?

Fuck NO. 

Yet I didn’t think saying something really snotty would be helpful.

“Tell ya what,” I responded, trying to control my irritation. “I’ll leave you to it. I’ll just be in the living room.”

Shortly after I stepped away, my skin started to itch. I began to feel very warm. I’m certain this was my body’s reaction to being shushed.

A couple minutes later, Vern ambled out of the bedroom and announced that he had sussed out the problem,

“They gave ya the wrong cable, Stephanie,” he said. “I gotta go out to my vee-hicle and get one that works. Don’t ya worry, now. Easy fix.”

Hmmm. This was kinda what I was trying to tell him before he told me in so many words to just shut the fuck up.

But I felt relieved. And actually kind of joyous—because my TV would soon be working, and that I wasn’t as technically inept as I’d feared.

Vern returned and triumphantly connected the right cord. My set lit up. And another ordeal with a dismissive man was almost over.

But before he left, Vern explained to me that the remote I’d been given by the cable store wasn’t interchangeable with other identical remotes I might have in my condo.

“Ya gotta use THIS one for THIS set,” he explained, now using his “let-me-read-you-a-bedtime-story-little-girl” kind of voice. “Lotta people think they’re all the same, but they ARE NOT.”

Jesus.

This guy really does think I’m an idiot.

An idiot woman.

“I’m really glad you told me that,” I burbled, trying to sound grateful. “I really appreciate it. I’ve always wondered about that.”

I found myself using my sweetest, most man-pleasing voice. Something I’ve only recently developed.

I did not like how I felt.

As he walked to the door, Vern asked that I give him a good review if I was contacted in the next day or two. And then he stole one last look at my boobs as he ambled out of my condo, and out of my life.

 

 

So. what’s the big deal here, you might be thinking.

The BIG deal is that these interactions (with both Vern and the body shop guy) were with a couple of pretty ordinary, run-of-the-mill men—and in both cases they were thoughtlessly disdainful of me as an adult female person.

In both cases, THEY had to be dominant.

They felt they did NOT have to explain themselves to me.

And they didn’t want much—if any—input from me; they clearly believed my thoughts weren’t necessary, even irrelevant.

And again, I’m absolutely not at all used to being talked to or treated like this. It’s way, WAY different from how I’d been dealt with when I was presenting as a male.

It’s something brand new to me. It makes me feel angry, and perhaps a bit defeated. Even nauseous.

So this is what it’s like.

The sisters were right!

Look, I’m not gonna tell you, dear readers, that while I was living my previous life as a dude that I was never guilty of misogynistic behavior.

Because, I’m ashamed to say, I certainly was.

Despite the fact that I never really enjoyed being a typical man-person, I’m sure there were times when I felt compelled to prove to a woman, or women, that I was an oh-so-fucking-tough-and-brilliant alpha male.

Mostly in dating situations, where I tried so fucking hard to be the all-knowing, big-man-with-a-penis (albeit not a very big one, I admit) and the guy with the oh-so-powerful career in the very cool, very macho television news business.

I don’t remember specifics, but when it came to relationship break-ups I pretty much subscribed to the “it’s not you, it’s me” escape tactic.

Sad.

And I remember sometimes not being very nice to female secretaries who had mistyped a letter, or some other small thing.

In fact, I’m sometimes revolted by the person I used to be.

I was socialized as a male. And when I was growing up and coming of age, it was culturally acceptable to believe that girls/women were somehow just not as useful or competent or capable as boys/men.

Unfortunately, this belief is still held by some.

And in some places, by many.

Back in the day, no self-respecting boy wanted to play with girls. Or even THINK about liking girl stuff. Girls were girls, and boys were boys.

Until puberty, that is, when girls become sexual objects.

I was discussing all of this recently with my gender therapist. She’s been with me every step of the way as I transitioned.

She’s seen me as a very broken male, and listened to me and guided me as I started to re-socialize myself as a female. As a woman. She’s been my incredibly supportive guiding spirit as I morphed from a very fucked up male person to a hopefully less fucked up female person.

I’ve discussed with her how embarrassed and sad (and very, VERY puzzled) I am about my ever-growing aversion to men.

“Why do you feel that way?” she asks me. “If you see these people as threats, then you’re justified to separate yourself from them.”

But I feel so guilty, I tell her, that I’m stereotyping half the population of the planet. I don’t want to be such an absolutist. Logically, I know that all men aren’t assholes, and that there are indeed some decent guys out there.

Maybe I know this because I tried so hard to be one myself, even if I often failed.

But over the last five years I’ve increasingly realized that (some) men act so inappropriately and say such incredibly hurtful things to women, and do such awful things. This has always gone on but suddenly I’m far more aware of it. As a woman.

And I don’t think I’m alone in how I feel.

I’ve talked to a lot of young women—some cisgender, a lot of lesbians, and many transwomen— who feel just as threatened and disgusted by the men they encounter every day.

 

 

I’m stunned by their animus.

My therapist then informs me that other female clients of hers have expressed similar sentiments—that they too feel much of the same anger and despair.

She then tells me that her own boys, her own children, have also expressed the so-typical male dismay at having to associate with girls.

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me but I also wonder: How is that still possible in the 21st century, people? In safe, well-structured families with a strong, independent woman as a co-parent?

I guess it just is.

Yes, our culture has certainly changed in the past half century or so. Some say the feminist revolution started in 1968 when protesters took on the Miss America pageant by burning their bras on the boardwalk outside the Atlantic City, New Jersey competition.

But it hasn’t changed enough.

Almost every day there’s a story in the news like this one, just the other day, about 85-year-old Oscar-winning Director Francis Ford Coppola, best known for The Godfather movies, allegedly kissing extras on his latest film to ‘get them in the mood.’

And, I mean, just look at the two leading choices in the 2024 presidential race. Once again, two old White men.

Two very old White men, actually.

One of whom is an adjudicated rapist in civil court and now a 34-time convicted felon in criminal court.

Ah, Donald Trump again.

It should go without saying that monsters like Trump are despicable and loathsome. And unredeemable.

When I see Trump and his (usually) White male apologists on newscasts, and listen to them spew their hatred and impossibly stupid comments and conspiracy theories—especially towards the trans community—I am utterly revolted.

And it exacerbates my already unreasonable aversion to most men in general.

In fact, I do believe that my ramped-up distrust and fear started to really manifest itself sometime in 2015, as I watched Trump run for president the first time, and realized just how repulsive I found him and his supporters to be.

At the time, I lived in a small northern California town that was filled with his acolytes, and I was just starting to come to understand and acknowledge my own gender queerness. I came to fear these people—these MAGA men (and their women too, I suppose).

As the months and years passed, that fear devolved into absolute terror as the coarseness of their hatred of people like me—and me specifically—grew. Trump seemed to give them license to be more open about it.

Then, as I began to reveal my struggles with gender dysphoria to my friends and family—many of whom abandoned me afterwards because they couldn’t or wouldn’t deal with me—I started to unravel emotionally.

I started to see maleness as something I not only couldn’t live with personally, but something I didn’t want to continue dealing with, on any level.

As I shed my physical male appearance, I also wanted to completely shed any past connection to my presumptive masculinity.

My look. My sound. All of my male sensibilities.

ALL OF IT.

 

The Transchick with her two young grandsons.

 

Fortunately, I’ve started to find some sense of peace. Mostly by avoidance, admittedly, but also because I have two sweet little grandsons who are 10 and five.

I love them with every fiber of my being, and I feel very protective of them. I don’t see any emerging misogyny in them—not a shred.

Of course, they both still call me Papa. I cringe when they do, because it misgenders me, but I also know they don’t say it to hurt meI’ve asked them to call me Poppie instead because I think it sounds more feminine—but they’ve told me they don’t want to.

They both know who I am and what I am, the older one more so, and while they bring it up occasionally, it’s not a big deal to them. They both accept me, and love me wholeheartedly. My daughter has done a wonderful job explaining me to them.

And for the time being, I can live with “Papa.”

Mind you, I’m not overtly rude or dismissive toward the men I do have to interact with in my daily life, and most show me no disrespect.

In fact, I find that most of the younger ones—under 35 or so—aren’t at all misogynistic, at least not here in California’s capitol city. They seem to truly “get” the feminist mantra that, for lack of better words, no one is better or smarter than anyone else.

Regardless of gender.

While I think I’ll always be uncomfortable with the future Verns I encounter in my life, I also know and fully understand that, as much as possible, I need to try harder to look past any sexist demeanor in men I run into. Intentional or not.

If I want to be a cheerful, gentle, loving and culturally useful woman, it pretty much depends on it.

It’s a life lesson this Transchick had damned well better learn. Or I decidedly will not thrive. At least not as much as I hope to.

 

Stephanie Haskins is hard at work on the next chapters of “The Transchick Chronicles.” Sign up for our e-newsletter here to be alerted when they’re published. 

To read her previous installments:

June 2021/Transgender Journalist’s Life Story Destined to Become Her Most Important

July 2021/Surgery and Soul: Merging the Exterior with the Interior

August 2021/Becoming My Authentic Self: Identifying My True Gender Has Been a Journey Decades in the Making

September 2021/Crucial Caregiving: Finding the Right Help, from the Right People

December 2021/My Current To-Do List: Fixing Family, Changing Name, Finding Friends, Fighting Transphobic “Allies”

February 2022/From “I Am Woman” to “WAP”: Some Womanly Thoughts on Misogyny, Menstruation, and the Gaze of Males 

April 2022/Doctors’ Devastating News: Transchick Might Not Be Healthy Enough for a Vaginoplasty Surgery

June 2022/Vagina Ahoy! Countdown to Long-Awaited Bottom Surgery

July 2022/Post Surgery Reflections: Rocky Recovery Marked by Joy, Pain and Covid

January 2023/Post-Surgery Blues: This Girl Is Sad, Mad and Still Sick (But Getting Better) 

April 2023/Hate Trans Folks All You Want: We’re Here to Stay and Determined to Fight 

July 2023/What It Feels Like to Be “Uncomfy”

October 2023/What Was I Made For? Searching for Connection, and an End to Loneliness

December 2023/Transgender Euphoria: Realizing My True Identity Brings Unparalleled Joy

March 2024/A Vaginoplasty at Last, Stolen Laundry, and a Desire to be ‘Someone’s Woman’ 

 

Stephanie Haskins is a Reporters Inc. Board Member. You can read more about her here on our Team page. She can be reached at .

 

 

 

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