Thursday, February 22, 2018

Heads Up? Or Down?

I recently revisited experiences I have had being mis-gendered, mostly in medical situations.  Very simply, I have basically have given myself only a couple alternatives when I respond.

My one hard and fast rule is to be very kind to anyone who is about to stick a needle into me. My second rule is to call anyone else out on their blunder. I feel it is up to me to educate people on what to do when they encounter a transgender woman or trans man.

Connie wrote in and took her rules to a different level:

"When I've been mis-gendered or had my dead name used in the past (it hasn't happened since changing my name and gender markers), while in a waiting room, I would always stay seated for a few seconds and not respond to the call. People in waiting rooms tend to look up upon hearing anyone's name, but they go back to their magazine within a few seconds. I always figured that I would be contributing to the outing of myself had I responded immediately, and waiting just those few seconds allowed me to discreetly answer the call. Of course, timing is everything, as I needed to also make eye contact with the caller before she or he repeated. After we were in a private place, I would correct them politely. 

My spouse works in a dentists office. They are careful to be respectful of trans patients, and they clearly mark charts pertaining to preferred name and pronouns. Just a couple weeks ago, though, there was a new assistant in the office for a one-day "working interview." While calling the trans woman patient to the back, she did use the proper name, but she blew the encounter - and her interview - by proclaiming: "You don't look like a man at all!" I think she meant it as a compliment, but it just goes to show that even the well-intentioned can be ignorant, misinformed or uninformed. Of course, there are plenty of people who are just plain stupid, as well."
Good point! Thanks Connie.

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