Anyone who’s been following this blog for a long time (and, well, I’m really impressed if you’re still around as it’s kind of dead) might know that I have/had horrible social dysphoria. I say have/had because it’s starting to chill down for the most part, but it’s still there with a vengeance in the wrong situations.
I don’t mind so much, now, getting misgendered by strangers, in part because I’ve gotten better at avoiding situations where people will gender me too much. It’s not always possible, but limiting it helps.. I’ve accepted that I do not pass as male at all, that I really don’t want to take testosterone so likely never will, and I’ve come to accept that being misgendered by people who don’t know better isn’t commentary about me. It isn’t saying a word about my body or genitals, they have no way of knowing about that, or that I fit XYZ gender roles, or anything else. I’m still not at the point where I’m comfortable dressing as feminine as I’d like to, I still feel pressure not to “justify” their misgendering, but I’m at least a bit better at being misgendered.
Our society really doesn’t allow strangers to do anything else, especially not employees who could get in trouble at work by doing something subversive like asking someone’s pronouns. Most people will get offended by that question, and that’s cissexist but it’s the case. Also, asking is so complicated even for trans people. A person who isn’t out trans being asked around family will have to either lie or risk being outted, or if the wrong person overhears the answer it may put the person in danger. Ideally we wouldn’t assume pronouns, but there are reasons that asking is difficult. So even people who may be trans friendly will be nervous asking about pronouns. Is that right? No, it sucks, I wish it would change, but I’m stuck with it and learning to deal with it.
(note that this doesn’t excuse society, trans people shouldn’t be put in danger by being outted and cis people shouldn’t get offended when someone doesn’t assume they’re definitely their gender, and it doesn’t mean that trans people who can’t deal with being misgendered should suddenly be fine with it. Each individual is in a different situation, there are so many reasons why being misgendered by strangers is deeply hurtful and even terrifying for many trans people, and that needs to be acknowledged and respected. It’s just why I, personally, can deal with it)
But after I tell someone, that changes. As soon as I come out to someone, and ask for pronouns, misgendering me becomes deeply hurtful. It hurts to reveal something very personal and risky about myself, to express a need to someone, and have that person ignore it. When they acknowledge they messed up and apologize, then it’s easier to deal with, but I’ve had a lot of people just not care, and the more that happens the less willing I am to tell people.