We're having a heat wave this week. I stayed inside yesterday when the temperature hit 90, but today I needed to go out for a run. I've been slacking off on both my aerobic and strength training, and hot weather is a poor excuse for that. I also needed more sunlight for the Vitamin D. I figured if I got out early in the morning, the heat wouldn't be so bad.
I opened my dresser and pulled out the shirt pictured above, the coolest one I own. I thought about how obvious my breasts are while I'm wearing it. But I could not bring myself to wear a sports bra. I put a tight tank top on underneath, then thought the better of it and took it off.
I was not willing to swelter in order to minimize the look of my nipples and bounce of my breasts. (They're small enough that I don't even notice the bouncing once I've been running for a minute or two, but I know that other people can see it.) As I've posted before, I don't particularly mind having breasts. I am not dysphoric about those body parts. But it does bother me that having visible breasts makes most strangers assume that I am a woman.
I thought about that last part as I was debating whether to wear the tank top under my shirt. Why exactly did it matter to me what a stranger thought, if I weren't going to interact with them? I was going out at eight in the morning on a weekday, when not a lot of pedestrians would be out and about. I was running, not walking, so unlikely to be interacted with by anyone. The worst that might happen is someone asking for directions or a handout might call me "Ma'am".
And thinking further, I realized that even if I were entirely flat-chested, strangers would probably still assume that I am a woman anyway. After four months on testosterone, I have a noticeable increase in facial and body hair and a lower voice, but these changes are still too subtle to get me read as male most of the time. It's going to take a lot longer for the hormones to have a fully masculinizing effect.
So I took off the tank top, put the thin shirt back on without it, and went on the run, bouncing breasts and all. And as I predicted, there weren't many people about. The one person who called out to me was a man taking photos at the Palace of Fine Arts, and he used no gendered terms or any salutations whatsoever; he just said something about how big the fish in the lagoon were. I agreed and mentioned that there were also lots of turtles out today, as I ran by. That was it.
I had a really good run, the fastest so far this year for this six-mile course despite the heat (which actually wasn't so bad; very sunny, but probably not much above 70). I'll be glad when my sex change is legal so that I can officially race as male, at least. But for now, on my training runs, I will settle for being seen as whatever sex or gender people think I am.