People refusing to use preferred pronouns

IamKC IamKC
So anyone else have problems with people refusing to use your prefered pronouns? How do you handle this?
04/18/2013
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GONE! GONE!
I've got a huge problem with this and I have no idea how to deal with it. I feel like it was a total waste of time for me to even come out of the closet since literally no one treats me any different than before. How am I supposed to live an honest life when people act like I'm still living a lie? O.o How do I respond to people who know I'm a boy saying things like "Oh you girls love stuff like this."
I don't even know.
04/18/2013
Peggi Peggi
Ok well I'll prefix this with "I am a cis-female so this is not MY personal experience" but a very good friend of mine identifies herself as "a transgender woman". That is what she insists I refer to her as if discussing her with new friends, introducing her to people, etc. I'm not sure why, but she prefers that. I think part of it...is because she feels she doesn't "pass" and I know often she is called 'sir' and such when she goes places.

Recently, she was at a Starbucks and the guy who took her order said "he will have a *insert order*" and the lady at checkout was more respectful, seeing that she presented herself as a woman, and said "have a nice day, miss".

She told me she didn't say a thing to him, but when she got out to her car she cried, and later that day told me about it. I think a lot of the time she ignores it when in their presence, but I know it hurts her. Right now she is trying to transition between dressing as herself (a girl) and around her father, dressing as he sees her (a guy). She doesn't want to come out to her family until she is out of college and can support herself, and I hate that people use the wrong pronoun when talking to her. I think that's why she specifies "transgender" so she isn't mistaken for a CD.

Anyway, if someone happens to use the wrong pronoun in front of ME towards one of my friends, my quick temper causes me to chew them out and try to humiliate them, especially when it is VERY clear that they are presenting themselves as a specific gender.
04/18/2013
Wicked Wahine Wicked Wahine
Unfortunately, you can't control other people, though I'd love to put a muzzle on some of them! I think the most you can do is correct someone, saying the correct word after they say the wrong one. It's not always worth it, I understand, but sometimes a quiet, quick, "I'm a (fill in the blank)", is all you need to change the situation, or at the least, get it off your chest. I don't believe you need to say you prefer to be called one name or another, I think it's best to present it as fact, you are this not that. I don't think most strangers do it on purpose, there are just a lot of ignorant people out there.

As for family & acquaintances, my advice doesn't change, but they do know better, for the most part, as long as you've told them. For them, I'd go into more detail after repeated mistakes. You can ask straight out, "Why won't you call me by my preferred pronouns?," or "You are repeatedly upsetting me by doing this, I'd appreciate you respecting my wishes!" Just be prepared for them NOT to do any differently. All you can do is ask & repeat it, but after a while, you just need to get away from the negative, disrespecting people.


(I am cis-gendered female, but I tried my best to word this without being offensive to anyone; if I did, please, forgive me.)
04/18/2013
El-Jaro El-Jaro
Quote:
Originally posted by Wicked Wahine
Unfortunately, you can't control other people, though I'd love to put a muzzle on some of them! I think the most you can do is correct someone, saying the correct word after they say the wrong one. It's not always worth it, I understand, ... More
I totally agree with WW.

When referred to as a non-preferred pronoun, the best thing to do is calmly assert yourself in no-nonsense wording.

My advice to everyone, including the topic of this discussion: Be your own advocate. If you don't speak up for yourself, no one else will.
04/18/2013
charletnarouh charletnarouh
i frequently correct people who misaddress my friends. Wicked Wahine is exactly dead on. For casual incidents, like the guy at Starbucks, it might not seem worth it to say anything but a quick, quiet correction, "No, i'm a ______", no further explanation required might actually make them be more careful in the future and might make you feel better.
Correcting repeated behavior of friends and family is trickier but, of course, even more important. If you can't get through to them, you have some difficult choices to make.
In any case, ignoring it is probably the worst thing you could do because that will mean it just won't ever change.
That said, as someone who is friends with many trans* folks and who is personally of the belief that you are whatever you tell me you are, period, i've seen multiple friends through the earliest stages of their transition, having known them as their biological sex for years prior. While i instantly accept their gender identity upon being told, many years worth of habit can be hard to break! It's not for lack of respect or caring or empathy if i slip up and use the wrong pronoun with a newly out friend and i always feel AWFUL when it happens. This has been especially true with some trans men who, even before transition, presented very masculine appearances so until medical intervention, their physical appearance and clothing choices didn't change much, if at all, which is not to judge or suggest that those changes, or even the medical steps are necessary, but it means that i might mess up and say the wrong thing. i'd hope that, as a friend, they would remind me and forgive my screw-ups, initially. i'd much rather have them point out my mistake and correct me, give me the opportunity to apologize and work harder, even if they get angry or hurt, than to have them suffer silently, clam up or withdraw or shut me out when the chances are pretty high that i didn't even realize i said it. i hope that they wouldn't just assume that i'm being rude or rejecting their identity. Sometimes gentle reminders are necessary even in the case of well-meaning and accepting people who may just need to be nudged a few times to help them change ingrained habits. i imagine this would be even more difficult for even the most loving and accepting parents and other relatives. If my sister came out as a transman, i would instantly embrace him as a brother but after 24 years of saying "her" and "my sister", the words would be a hard habit to break.
04/18/2013
FieryRed FieryRed
Quote:
Originally posted by Peggi
Ok well I'll prefix this with "I am a cis-female so this is not MY personal experience" but a very good friend of mine identifies herself as "a transgender woman". That is what she insists I refer to her as if discussing her ... More
The fact that an employee of Starbucks did this--a company that makes no secret of its pro-LGBT-equality stance--makes it even worse for me. There is clearly no need to even use a pronoun in that situation, which makes it seem like the guy was purposely trying to make your friend uncomfortable. If I were in your or your friend's shoes, I'd email Starbucks and let them know what happened, and which employee was so disrespectful to a customer.

I, too, am a cis-gendered woman, and have had friends, who I'd known as female, come out as transgendered (is this still the preferred term?) and begin transitioning. In those cases, it's been a bit difficult for me to get out of the habit of referring to them with female pronouns, but I've worked hard to catch myself when I made slips like that. However, I don't see how someone can deliberately refer to a person by a pronoun that they clearly don't identify with.
04/18/2013
Ciao. Ciao.
Completely agree with everyone on the "be your own advocate" front. When it comes to friends and family you shouldn't have to constantly police them, but out and about there are people who will make genuine mistakes. I'm non-transitioning and present regularly out in public in both gender presentations...and get misgendered in both not too infrequently. As long as people aren't being malicious about it I just try and correct it and move on.
04/19/2013
FieryRed FieryRed
Quote:
Originally posted by Ciao.
Completely agree with everyone on the "be your own advocate" front. When it comes to friends and family you shouldn't have to constantly police them, but out and about there are people who will make genuine mistakes. I'm ... More
Hmmm. My partner is physically female, and though she doesn't consider herself trans, she also doesn't really identify with femaleness, though she does use feminine pronouns in reference to herself. However, she is called "sir" or referred to as "he" or "him" fairly regularly when we're out in public. In those cases, it's always a simple mistake on the part of someone who assumes she is he based on overall appearance. This doesn't offend either of us--we usually just find it somewhat amusing, and we're more aware of those strangers who do recognize her as female and use those pronouns (as in, "You ladies have a good evening!").

However, I'm thinking it may be a completely different issue when someone is dressed and clearly presenting themselves in a certain area of the gender spectrum, yet a person in the service industry uses the opposite pronouns. Thoughts?
04/19/2013
treehugger treehugger
If it's just them getting used to using your pronouns, I'd say just gently remind them and move on. But for people who flat out refuse to even try... I try to just stay away from them as much as possible.
04/19/2013
Ilmenskie Ilmenskie
Quote:
Originally posted by IamKC
So anyone else have problems with people refusing to use your prefered pronouns? How do you handle this?
Pound them.

(Usually just pull them aside to address it unless it's like a relative who is having trouble then just a gentle reminder or ignore it but if it's a peer or friend who has never known me as female and only known me as male and has no excuse, then i pound them)
04/20/2013
Gone (LD29) Gone (LD29)
Another cis-gendered female weighing in here, but I just wanted to address the Starbucks situation from the point of view of someone who works in customer service. I know this is a hot button issue for a lot of people, so I go out of my way to be sensitive when working with customers who are of questionable gender identity (meaning I can't clearly determine how they're trying to present). It isn't actually all that difficult to keep my interactions gender neutral until I get a clear idea of what they'd like to be called. Yes, honest mistakes can happen, but if I'll avoid embarrassing or upsetting someone if I can.
04/20/2013
smlove smlove
Quote:
Originally posted by IamKC
So anyone else have problems with people refusing to use your prefered pronouns? How do you handle this?
when people do it to be a dick, my wife calls them out on it. if they're just stumbling and doing it on accident, she doesn't fault them. as long as they don't call her 'it'.
we did come up with something new though. if someone calls her Sir, she should just call them their opposite pronoun back.
male waiter: are you finished with the check sir?
wife: no ma'am, I'm not.
male waiter: did you just call me ma'am?
wife: well, you did just call me sir.
04/29/2013
Total posts: 13
Unique posters: 12