Yesterday I went out to a very well know restaurant with a few friends. When it was time for the waiter to take our order they said, “We’ll start with ladies first”. I was sitting at a table with 3 visibly cis-men, and this is how the encounter played out.
Waiter: We’ll start with ladies first
Me: *looks over shoulder*
Me: *looks around the table*
Me: *looks down at menu*
Me: *looks around the table again*
Me: Oh.. um.. *proceeds to order*
Needless to say it was a pretty uncomfortable situation for me, and made my confidence in my current gender expression drop severely. The waiter was in no way addressing me in that way with ill intention. I do, however, think that this is something that people should be aware of. If you work in the service industry I urge you to be mindful of not assuming a persons gender. Although they may present or express in a way that you believe is specific to a certain gender they may not identify as such. Take cues from the person or the other people at the table. A safe thing to do is to just keep it neutral when you are addressing costumers. Once again, the waiter had no ill intentions when addressing our table. That being said, that does not excuse the fact that they made a customer feel uncomfortable. I’m hoping that other people who work in the service industry will see this post and rethink how they address their costumers.
Striving for change one post at a time! Pass it on!