Reply To: You’ve been misgendered, what is your proper response?


Hi Lauren, I’m just reposting a response that you probably already saw in CDH but perhaps it may help someone else here. When it happens to me I usually think “oh my, I guess I’m not as together today as I thought but then too bad, I’m just living my life and tomorrow is another day.  It’s happen to me too in both directions.  I gave up on getting mad or even trying to figure it out years ago.  I can be called ma’am when I’m just off the tractor in my oil spotted work clothes that have no shape, and then again called sir  when I’m cleaned up wearing my tight jeans, cleavage top and have my long blond hair in a ponytail.  I look somewhat androgynous so I guess that’s my lot and perhaps it’s the same for cis women that look more boyish.  Most times I figure that it’s not worth the bother of a correction but sometimes I’ll say “actually it’s ma’am too or actually it’s sir too”, and I may add that  “I’m an intersex person and I’m mixed with both parts.  We make up about 2% of the population and are as common as redheads.  It might work out better if you just changed your greeting to something like “hello, did you find everything that you were looking for? or perhaps, hello, and welcome to our store, or perhaps (my favorite), hello, nice to see you today”  and then leave it at that.  Sometimes this will evolve into a mini lesson on intersex people (my passion) or just be a small educational moment where a new person learns that there is something called intersex (and it’s nothing dirty).  (I actually did this on Thursday night in a store and the clerk thanked me and said that she had never heard the word  intersex mentioned before but what I said made complete sense).  I think of this misgendering situation in my life as just a small social error and much the same as when people call me Marge (IT’S MARG, my brain screams) but then in most cases I will just say “it’s Marg, like the first part of Margaret but with no regrets, Marge is my mother”.  Again with no malice but correcting a social misstep.  This happens all the time…Molly is called Mary or Millie or Bobby gets called Billy etc.  I know it can be especially maddening or hurtful but it’s the human existence and the life for some of us.  This is just an explanation of how I see it but not an excuse for your treatment and I’m truly sorry that it happened to you.  Perhaps these thoughts might help you in the future.  Live your life and enjoy it so much that the small pebbles on the footpath don’t trip you but are just a bother.  Hugs to you my Sister,  Marg

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