Trans man shares the body language he learned to work with ‘intimidating’ men at steel mill
A brilliant cheat sheet for men everywhere.
Leo Macallan is an actor, trans model, author and a confessed keen observer of human behavior. As a transgender man, he is in the unique position of being able to understand gender-based behavior from multiple perspectives.
After transitioning, Macallan worked blue-collar jobs alongside a lot of men who weren't exactly accepting of transgender people or those who were different. So, he had to learn to adjust his body language and communication style to feel comfortable and project an air of confidence in an aggressive environment.
To share his knowledge with others who may be uncomfortable in male-dominated environments, he created a video where he revealed his body language and communication tips. Macallan also shared how to observe the group of men to determine the hierarchy and how to react to offensive behavior.
Here are his 4 most important tips:
Some advice from papa bear
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1. Go Slow
"Walking fast, fast hand movements, they just read nervous,” he said. “Even when I do the dumbest things, I do them slow. Say I was at the supermarket and I dropped [a bottle of soda]...I would lean down very, very slowly, very casually, like the laziest lion in the den."
"It's all about the presentation and the perception of who you are and what you're doing," Macallan added.
2. Body language
"I want you to spread out as much as you can,” he said. “Put your arm across the chair. Any time I'm sitting down and there's a chair next to me, guess what? I'm pushing the chair out, I'm putting my whole arm over it and I'm leaning back with my chin up and I'm crossing my legs or stretching them out. Don't do that around girls.”
He says that spreading out is a "powerful stance," and it will trick your mind into calming down.
3. Control your laughter
"If you're within a dude and he's making a joke and you don't think it's funny, don't laugh,” he said. “Just sit there. The art of not filling space also emanates confidence. You don't have to fill the space. If they say something really offensive or are trying to f*** with you, all you have to say is, 'What was that? Can you repeat that?' and say it real loud. Watch them squirm."
4. Be the observer
"You need to practice being the observer and not the observed,” he said. “The minute you switch that perspective, you can calm down."
Macallan’s final takeaway is that even though men you’ll find on blue-collar work sites may appear to be in control and know precisely what they’re doing, a lot of it is actually an act. The best part, it’s one that you can learn, too.
"I can't tell you how many times I stood in that steel mill with a bunch of other dudes around me and they're all scratching their bellies like confused orangutans, but they're making a s***ton of money, " he said. "So, keep that in mind. That helped me face a lot of my fears."