An approach to pronouns

Stating perspective on misgendering as a transgender male

Aiden Lewald, Staff Writer

I have tough skin, as evident by the fact that I willingly chose to work at Starbucks for my first job. I can deal with harsh words and cruel comments, but there is one thing that rips right through my thick skin. Misgendering. 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines misgendering as “to identify the gender of (a person, such as a transgender person) incorrectly (as by using an incorrect label or pronoun)”. 

Intentional or not, misgendering is still damaging to a transgender person in the midst of their transition.  

From the perspective of a transgender person, being misgendered hurts. Being called she/her when I use he/him pronouns is frankly gut wrenching, making my already frail mental state worse.

No matter how harmless the intentions were, it still is painful…but just because it hurts, does not mean I and other individuals  should not handle the situation maturely. 

When someone misgenders you, be polite. Do not be overly rude or dramatic. Correcting them simply by saying, “oh it’s him” or “oh I use he/him pronouns, not she/her,” gets the job done. 

I have discovered that being over dramatic or rude about your pronouns makes people not want to respect them.

Being overly dramatic about being misgendered fuels negative  stereotypes that the transgener community expects you to get their pronouns correct at all times.. It also causes the people who are misgendering you to not want to use the correct pronouns due to them feeling disrespected, however justified the sentiment is.

As much as I disagree with that, and instead believe that pronouns should be respected no matter the situation, I understand why. It’s a natural human reaction to lash out when you feel slighted. 

If this is, for example , the fifth time they’ve misgendered you in a row, after you’ve corrected them the previous four times…then you have a chance to be more stern. 

Guilt-tripping is a no go, as we do not want to seem manipulative, but that does not mean you cannot tell them what negative feelings their misgendering makes you feel.

Tell them what your pronouns are, and how you do not appreciate the fact that they have been repeatedly misgendering you, even if it is on accident. Ask them to be more conscious of it, and explain that it is harmful towards your mental health. 

In a 2014 study from “Self and Idenity Journal”, 32.8% of transgender people feel stgymitized when being misgendered. Besides the stigmitization, transgender indiviausl  feel more insecure about themselves and their gender presentation.   

Worst case scenario, depending on the environment, you may have to get an employer, teacher, or administrator involved. When it comes to doing the actual misgendering, there are a few ways you should approach the situation afterwards. 

First of all, correct yourself if you know you’re slipping up. A simple, “well she said, sorry, he,” is perfectly acceptable. It has a simple apology, and you simply correct yourself. 

As a transgender person, we do not want you to be overdramatic about your apologies and corrections. It brings unwanted attention to us in relation to a topic we are already on edge about. 

I cannot speak for all transgender people, but I can say that most of us only want a simple apology or correction. Do not feel guilty, it happens. Even transgender people are guilty of misgendering other people. 

All of us are aware that it happens, and sadly, most of us are desensitized to it. From both standpoints, it only takes a simple correction to get the idea across. 

For the sake of my mental health, use the correct pronouns and please do not question my decision to work at Starbucks.