THE BLOG
07/16/2014 05:45 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

To Sir with Love or Ain't I a Woman Too

I am a woman with a deep voice; I am almost always called "sir" over the telephone. When I correct the person I usually say, "It's not sir, I am a woman with a deep voice."

I get various reactions after that, sometime people argue with me and think I am kidding and I am in fact a sir and not a ma'am (a term that I loathe and does not have the same tenor as sir). Sometimes folks apologize and then quickly forget and call me sir again.

Often via the phone I don't bother correcting.

In my day job, if I am being quoted and I am speaking over the phone I say I am the "spokesperson" or a woman.

My non nom de plum does not connote gender so I add "Ms." before my name in my signature line.

But lately, and my late mother would say because I need a better bra, I have been called "sir" in person. Before I lost 222 pounds this rarely happened. But the "girls" are smaller and as I mentioned I need a better bra, one that shows cleavage.

Recently I was at an appointment for my son with a medical doctor, we both left his office at the same time to go to the bathroom, I grabbed the pink girl's key and he told me I took the wrong one (despite the fact they were individual restrooms), I assured him that I did not. He apologized. This happened in front of my 10-year-old son.

When we returned to his office he asked me my sexual orientation and then quickly changed it to sexual identity. I responded that I am a woman. He then asked how I should be identified as a parent, and my co-parent and I said simultaneously our son had "two moms." He apologized again.

Later when my son was recounting the story to their 20-something-year-old nanny and my 13-year-old daughter, the former thought the doctor's questions rude. I would much rather be asked directly.

Two hours later I went to the local IHOP and was greeted with "may I help you sir." My throat was sore and my therapist says often this is not a physical issue but indicates I need to speak out about something, so rather than remaining silent I said immediately, "it's not sir, I am a woman." He apologized and later went overboard calling me ma'am.

I am a lesbian, and although some folks might put me in the "butch" or "tomboy" category, I do not identify as such. Nor do I identify as transgendered -- as they said in Seinfeld, "not that there anything is wrong" with any of these categories.

I don't wear dresses ever anymore. I identify as neither masculine or feminine. I don't wear make-up daily. I have had my make-up done professionally three times for photo shoots.

It's interesting how some strangers see me immediately as a woman, and others don't. I am tall for a woman, 5'10" down from 5'11" when I was younger. I don't wear earrings.

I haven't figured out how folks identify me along gender or racial lines.

Both of my children joined our family at birth via open adoption. At that time their birth certificates in the state of New York did not have a "mother" and "father" designation, only parent one and parent two. I was thrilled that I did not have to decide who would be the "baby daddy."

I am not advocating for the abolition of gender/gender identity, but rather for letting people identify how they want and not making assumptions. The use of sir or ma'am in a short customer interaction does not add to politeness. A simple "may I help you" without reference to gender is sufficient.

Some folks think that gender/gender identity is fluid. I can accept that but it is not true for me specifically.

I do think folks need to let go of narrow definitions of gender/gender identity.

I am woman, hear me roar, authentically a woman, phenomenal woman.

Peace and blessings