Some trans issues do not come with easy answers. Or any answers at all. I have puzzled over the below situation for years, and am still unsure what I should have done in the situation. Is there One True Answer, or even just one that was better than what I did? Please opine away. It still bugs me after all this time.
I was at a fan convention. I'd had a blast the last time I had attended it, but this time I was miserable. I identified as genderqueer at the time, and had my household referring to me by male pronouns, but didn't advertise this. I had also crossed some kind of mental rubicon where I felt more like a creator than a fan, so the often-hyperbolic fan anger directed toward showrunners and actors and the like distanced me rather than pulled me in. (I've since made a lot of progress about how there doesn't need to be such a huge chasm between one's creator self and one's fandom self, but this was early days.)
I shared a hotel room, and as happens at cons, we wound up with a little knot of pals hanging out there, chatting away into the wee hours. I had distanced myself entirely, sitting up while tucked into my bed and chatting morosely via laptop with my household, who had gone home a day earlier.
Then one of the women in our room, after an hour or two of happy fangirl chatter, removed her headscarf.
I froze. I had seen her earlier in public areas; she always wore her headscarf there. Had she removed it here because she believed she was in the presence of women only? Did my few small steps into genderqueer identity make me something else, something she wouldn't have doffed her headscarf in front of?
I immediately felt there was no winning this situation. I didn't know whether she wore the headscarf for religious reasons, and establishing that at this point with a gauche, out-of-the-blue query would have been appallingly inappropriate. I also felt that breaking into a conversation I'd been ignoring for hours to announce that I was genderqueer Just In Case Anyone Needed To Know Right This Moment was a super asshole thing to do. But that left me just sitting there, wondering whether I was unwittingly causing a situation she worked hard to avoid, and would never even know had happened.
In the end, that is what I did: nothing. Today, considering myself "fully" trans and male but still unlikely to pass well in my PJs, I still don't know what I would do. I didn't want to make it all about the possibility of what faith she was. I didn't want to make it all about me. But I really, really didn't want to disrespect her, either, and in the end I have no idea whether I did.
This is the thing about what I will call "invisibly trans." I have plenty of plans for dressing well as a guy, but my naked body will never pass. I can never get elective surgery or hormones due to medical issues. This leaves me in strange positions, such as working closely with a local co-ed clothing-optional public hot tub as they chose to make "men's night" and "women's night" relative to gender instead of sex and never, ever planning on attending. Confrontation in the locker room seemed inevitable. When I'm naked, I have no visible transness. I'm only slowly realizing how much that hinders me.
Have you been in these situations? Are there ways you would prefer they be handled, from any perspective? Does all this just make you think interesting thoughts? Please share. A puzzle is less puzzling, or at least less frustrating, with more eyes.