The Pronoun Game

The Pronoun Game

Today marks seven months I’ve been on hormones.  Seven months full time. Six months since I got my license updated with my new name on it. A lot has happened then. I have slowly updated my name in so many places. Yet, I still come up on accounts that I’ve neglected. Things I forgot about. Then there were work systems, each seemingly unconnected to the other. Tracking down system administrators in far away places to get your name updated. A daunting and boring process.

Likewise, In real life, I’m still attempting to get everyone on board with the fact that I’m not he, nor sir, nor guy, man, dude, etc. I’m not that other name.. not matter how long you’ve known me, it’s not ok to refer to me by it. That includes when I can’t hear you, or if you know it won’t get back to me. That includes your cell phone.. if I’m in your phone and it’s not as Addison, then you’re not trying. No matter what you’re saying, that’s not trying.

For the first few months, I let everything slide. I made simple suggestions. I was trying to not be a pain in the ass. As of this writing, I’m still not trying to be a pain, but I’m also not letting anything slip at this point. If you call me HE, expect me to correct you. I’m not going to make a big deal of it, unless you decide to make it a big deal.

I’m not specifically calling anyone out, but if you think I’m talking about you… well, then I probably am. Just know, you’re not the only one but that doesn’t make it ok. I play a game anytime I’m around family and friends. I keep a mental count of how many times I’m misgendered and how many times I’m referred to by my dead name. Then I text those results, usually to my other trans friend. She’s always like “OMG” or “WTF” or “:(“.

Of course, in reality… I have it better than she. She’s been out twice as long, and by every measure that you can come up with, she’s better at this girl thing than I. However, to this day, her parents refuse to call her by her new (legal, might I add) name.. Nor do they respect her pronouns. This isn’t just a case of “oops, we slipped, we’ve known you for 30-something years as X”… No this is just out and out refusal to accept her gender identity as valid. Just a casual slip of the tongue can ruin the rest of my afternoon.. but the thought of just having someone just flat out refuse, that’s madness.  I feel so bad for her.

Usually, we’re made to feel like we’re putting people out. Like we’re just a huge inconvenience and using a different name and pronouns is taking up valuable brain cells they were going to use for something else. It becomes personal to them. Like I’m attacking them. I was at lunch a week or so ago with my whole family. A family member was speaking to someone else at the table of me, and I winced when she said “… and he …”

I quietly but frankly said “she.” Nothing else. This person looked at me with the type of stare that I give my dogs when they shit on the floor. I mean a piercing glare of (assumed) righteous indignation.  Not five minutes later, I got dead named by someone else.

Just remember, I’m not out here crying for attention. Misgendering me in public, aside from making me feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated and dysphoric.. you know as if that wasn’t enough, is a safety concern for me. If I’m out in public, I’m all dressed up and you keep referring to me as “he.” What’s to stop someone in earshot from saying something, doing something or worse. What if they decide to follow me into the women’s restroom? That’s not going to end well and it won’t be you that gets hurt.

When I was a child, I was constantly reminded by some of these same people to think before I speak. So I would say to them, maybe that’s good advice for you too?



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