6 Quick And Easy Ways To Stop Misgendering Trans People
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

6 Quick And Easy Ways To Stop Misgendering Trans People

How to avoid being potentially offensive.

3159
6 Quick And Easy Ways To Stop Misgendering Trans People
pixabay

I look like a girl. When people see me, they see boobs, long hair, and shirts that button on the left: even when I wear chest binders and baggy clothes, I’m still perceived as predominantly feminine. People assume I use she/her pronouns. They get confused by my gender neutral name and ask what it’s short for. Worst of all of these little things, though, is when people address me as "girl" in conversation. It's such a bold assumption, and it's so uncomfortable to correct.

I get it. Gender presentation is a major social cue in our culture that indicates how we should treat people and address people in certain situations. I look like what people would imagine a girl to look like. Therefore, it logically follows that people will mis-gender me, often by accident. The idea of a non-binary femme is foreign to many people, and they don’t know what to make of me or people like me.

Really, though, it's not so hard to respect a stranger's gender. There isn't much that you have to do. Here's how.

1. Use their correct pronouns.

There are a lot of ways to find out which pronouns someone uses. You can pull them aside and ask quietly. You can listen to how other people talk about them and follow that example. You can take a gamble, use a pronoun and hope they'll correct you if you're wrong. Don't do that awkward thing where you just avoid using pronouns altogether. We notice, I promise.

2. Use their preferred name.

You know those awful people who will call an Allie by the name Allison and talk about using the name her parents gave her, like a presumptuous jerk, even when Allie has expressed she doesn't want to be addressed by the name Allison? We all hate those people. They're the worst. It's the same idea here. When someone tells you their name, address them as they introduced their self.

3. If you're going to be nosey at least be polite about it.

"But like, what are you, though?" "What were you born as?" "Oh my gosh, what does your family think?" These are all terrible questions you should never ask. Be gentle. Preface any questions with something along the lines of, "Is it OK if I ask a personal question?" or, "only answer if you feel comfortable."

4. Don't ask what's in their pants.

This one is pretty simple. It's none of your business what parts somebody has unless you're either their doctor or you're trying to engage with those parts of them. Sometimes it's not even your business if you're their doctor. Keep your morbid curiosity about another person's genitals to yourself.


5. If you slip up, apologize, but for the love of all that is holy, just don't make a big deal of it.

You may have used the wrong pronoun, called someone their old name, made a tasteless joke. I don't know what you did. It probably made people really uncomfortable. Apologize quickly and genuinely, and move on. Don't make a spectacle of how sorry you are. We get it. It's easier to be forgiving when you haven't compounded your offense with making a big show of your sensitivity to gender identity.

6. Avoid gendered language until you know what's OK.

If one more person calls me "girl" in conversation, I will be so tempted to lose it. Girl, dude, man, bro, chica – these are all sorts of terms of endearment we casually call our friends. Sometimes, though, it's really uncomfortable for a trans girl to be addressed as "dude" or for a non-binary femme to be called "girl," even when the speaker had no malicious intentions. If you're not sure what's OK, just ask. Chances are, your friend will appreciate you being considerate enough to do so.

In short, respect us and our boundaries. In my experience, trans people are a lot happier to act as an educational resource for those who show us these very small courtesies.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

49114
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

121490
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments