Ohio has several areas dominated by the Amish culture and one happens to be within a day trip of our home in Cincinnati.
|Photo Credit: JJ Hart|
Since the weather was actually becoming more hospitable, Liz and I decided to make the trip to one of the major Amish stores in the area. If it sounds like a contradiction in terms it isn't. After driving miles off the Appalachian Highway in the less than liberal rural Ohio, we reached our destination. Out of nowhere near "Dunkinsville" (true story) in a farm field was a layout of what amounted to an Amish Mall. It had three major shops plus a big workshop building where they built everything from furniture to chicken coups.
By now I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. Here I was in decidedly tRumpt country heading into an Amish store. I felt as if I was the only transgender woman within a hundred miles. As it normally does for me, time slowed to a crawl as we went in the front doors. Once I did, we found ourselves in a wonderful store with one side devoted to everyday housing needs and the other half to what we came for. All sorts of different delicious jellies, candies and too many pickled products to mention.
As we browsed the shelves any thoughts I had of being mis-gendered went away. Everyone was too immersed in their own shopping to care about me. It was true. My deceased wife once told me "it's not always about you." Later on though it did become all about me.
The store also had a mini deli where you could buy bulk meat and cheeses or a place where you could order a sandwich and various sides. As Liz and I chose of of the few remaining seats, we ended up sitting next to a rather rough looking family with several teen boys who couldn't stop glancing at me. About that time I braced myself for the comments to follow since I was sitting close enough to them to hear everything they said.
Finally, I survived and heard no ugly gender comments and was able to enjoy one of favorite treats, a garlic bologna sandwiches on big slices of sourdough bread. The family finally left ahead of us. leaving my last interaction with the Amish themselves at the checkout counter.
The Amish man at the check out register didn't give me a second glance but his daughter did. I approximated her age to be around seven or eight and she paid me quite a bit of attention. When she looked at me it brought back memories of an encounter I had in a clothing store when I was shopping. As I was checking the blouses, I abruptly came across a young girl. She promptly announced to her Mother look at the big woman. I thought at the least she perceived me as feminine and then she said a big mean woman. From then on, I resolved to change the old male scowl on my face and I did the same thing with the young Amish girl. I looked at her and smiled. When I did, she turned away and went back to whatever she was doing.
Looking back at the day, of course the Amish wouldn't care if I was transgender or stare. After all , I would imagine they go through the same problem if they journey outside of their home base. Plus, we were spending money with them.
We paid and headed back to civilization.