- July 27, 2018 at 11:31 pm #794Mia WestParticipant
What name do you prefer? Why is it important to respect peoples pronouns? Asking questions and how do you ask questions? What pronouns would you like me to address you with? I think its not just important to adapt how we address others on TGH but, also just as important how we carry that out into our lives with us. For some this maybe a really new concept. There are a lot of variants as far as gender is concerned within the Trans community. Its not binary, not black and white, rather a spectrum based on preference. There are those that will identify male or female. Gender fluid, meaning depending on the situation gender fluid people will identify as either as to the situation they are in. There are also those that are not gender dependent. Androgynous or gender neutral for a lack of better words and may prefer different pronouns such as They, Them, and Their. So how do you know? You ask respectfully.
- January 21, 2022 at 9:35 am #125247BrielleSILVER
Hi Mia, I’ve just started transitioning and so far I’m not that hung up on my birth name versus my transname or pronouns. As I get further along, I’ll probably go with they, them, their and then when I’m FT en femme move to she, her, hers. I may change my opinion, but I’m not sure with family and friends that I’ll realluy care about even my femme name unless there are obviously rude implications or an embarrassing situation in public.
I haven’t come out to my daughter yet but next month when I do, I’ll suggest using the term “Maddy” or Brie if everyone is okay with that. I absolutely won’t want her calling me a variation of Mom – she only has one and I can never fill that role, nor do I want to.
I think everyone just needs to have tolerance. People we already know will slip up and I don’t think we should be offended or hurt (with the exception I mentioned above). My late mother called my wife by my sister-in-law’s name for years. She’d realize it immediately and correct it, but my wife was upset by it for a long time. It wasn’t done out of malice, just forgetfulness. We all deserve grace, and if we expect it from others, we have to freely give it as well.
- October 26, 2022 at 11:28 am #133694Dana MunsonSILVER
Brielle, I just read your post. I hope your transition is going well! I am a few months into my own transition. I have thus far been extremely fortunate in the level of acceptance I have received from family and friends (I must have done something awfully right in some prior life!). Everyone has gotten pretty good at calling me “Dana” (instead of “Dan”), but once in a while, someone will slip up and refer to me as “he” or “guy.” They don’t mean anything rude, I’m sure, and often they catch themselves and apologize. It’s just that after years of knowing me one way, they’ve suddenly got to turn on a dime and start calling me something else. I get it. Hey, before my transition, when I talked to my dogs, I would sometimes refer to myself as “Daddy.” Months into transition, I still sometimes slip and say “Daddy” instead of “Momma.” Just an ingrained habit that’s slow dying.
Brielle, I totally am with you in not being called “Mom” or “Mother” by my kids. When I came out, I told them they could call me “Dana” or “Aunt Dana” or whatever . . . just not “Mom” or “Mother.” Although she’s going through a terminal illness, they have already have a one-and-only Mother. No way do I wish to intrude on her special title or position.
- October 31, 2022 at 8:02 am #133769BrielleSILVER
Hi Mia, I’m with you. My wife has made a lot of progress in referring to me as Brielle and she/her pronouns. I will NEVER be upset with anyone I know from before my transition for not getting it right unless I know they are trying to be rude or mean. Even then, I won’t react badly, I’ll just reply with a random name or use she/her for a guy or he/him for a lady until they figure it out. When I’m alone and I do something irritating at home or work, I’ll mutter “brilliant, B—” still with my guy name. So how can I expect my family and long-time friends to immediately get it right? But when I’m right in front of you and obviously not a male in looks, it can get aggravating.
I’d like to say the transition is going well, and for the most part it is. But my wife and I physically separated in June and she’s filed for divorce. Not because of the transition of itself, but she can’t be attracted to a female, and I get that. I can’t live as roommates and feel good aboiut things, and she gets that. We’re still supporting each other and eventually will be “besties”. But it’s too raw for that yet.
Hope you are doing well!
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- November 1, 2022 at 9:40 am #133783Lauren MugnaiaSILVER
Hi Brie, Time to catch up with each other a bit. My wife and I, like you and yours, have separated, as of June 1st of this year I have been living 100% full time as a trans woman named Lauren. For those who don’t know my story, my birth name is actually Lauren, and that caused me a lot of grief during my school years, to the point where I asked the school office to simply change the spelling to Lorne when I ended up in girls PE and home room. (The home room would have been very nice, but I know the PE class would have been problematic, LOL)
So there isn’t a dramatic pronunciation difference between the two, my wife is actually making sure she’s calling me Lauren, but other older connections still refer to me by the other dead name.
Brie, I completely hear what you’re saying about things being too raw at this point. She says she doesn’t want a divorce and we keep in touch and talk with each other on a daily basis, but even though she sees all my photos on my Facebook page and knows what I look like as a trans woman, she still doesn’t want to physically see me face to face. We will remain good friends, but, at this point in time, from a distance.
Ms. Lauren M
- November 22, 2020 at 3:19 pm #90941DeeAnn HopingsAMBASSADOR
Regarding pronouns, a parallel for me is this:
If your name is Susan, is it appropriate to call you George? Of course not.
For transgender people, we know where we sit on the gender spectrum, and that does not give someone else the right to redefine it for us…
- January 20, 2022 at 6:56 pm #125188
So, I was at my plastic surgeon’s office Tuesday. I met with my aesthetician for the first time regarding some planned work (I’m here for my facial feminization surgeries). At checkout while we were setting up the schedule, she asked, “What do you want me to use as your pronouns?” I was just flummoxed!
I’m a physician and going through my transition plan. I ask people all day long about their choice of pronouns. For the FIRST time, someone asked ME! I know I looked dazed and confused as I cogitated over a relatively commonplace item.
I simply told her I really didn’t care! But I thanked her warmly for asking me in the sincere manner that she did. As Mia aptly pointed out, the “ask respectfully” was priceless.
There is nothing anyone can say or do to me that will hurt me or offend me any more. I am here, after 6 decades of yearning to match my outer appearance to my inner female self, to enjoy the glory of every single day that I am gifted on this earth. I will spend no energy or emotion being offended.
After 3 decades of working with all kinds and manner of us humans, I really can appreciate the inner pain, suffering and confusion so many of us feel. Respect is such a simple, yet powerful tool to connect us.
- January 21, 2022 at 8:36 am #125245Mia WestFREEIt’s been about four years since I started this post and, my opinions have grown as much as I have. So let’s start with this.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson
Without knowing the context, this profound thought changed my life. The dignity afforded to self by letting go of the useless feelings of remorse, guilt, and shame peeled away like layers of an onion. Fear of what others thought of me faded, along with seeking approval from any outside source. I began to feel deeper connections with others the more my relationship with myself changed. The love, compassion, and dignity naturally extended to those I met in life. I began to forgive those from my past, and I felt forgiveness for myself as a result. When I encounter those who have questions about being transgender, I am an open book. I don’t expect others to know any conventions of addressing me or others like me. I inform them that it’s just my policy to ask and, it seems to work well. When I encounter those that don’t or won’t understand, I treat them with tolerance, the same I would offer to a sick person. I found what I quoted from Marianne Williamson acted as the catalyst for a meaningful transition, not just physically but emotionally. As they say, happiness is an inside job and, if you want a happy life, make a happy world.I hope for all of you boundless joy and love, and to be the cause of boundless joy and love.Mia
- January 20, 2022 at 7:46 pm #125198DeeAnn HopingsAMBASSADOR
I would add that tone is very important also. The point is to take the energy and stress out of it and use a very matter-of-fact tone so that it doesn’t feel like you are twisting yourself into a pretzel in order to ask the question. I also find it annoying when someone wants to ask a question of a more personal nature (and not necessarily trans related), they spend ‘way too much effort in prefacing the question. A simple “Tell me something, which pronouns would you like me to use?” Is the way to do it. Total BS when someone says: “Oh, I have a personal question that I would like to ask you. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, and please don’t be offended, but…”.
JUST GET TO IT!!!
- April 10, 2019 at 8:58 pm #33376Stephanie JonesFREE
Are we not overlooking the obvious perhaps. All re-definitions seem to be, yet “another way of saying trans”.
Am I being too simplistic? Maybe so. I am proud to be called Trans, but if asked I would say CD. That is where I land on the transgender curve. However, I am seriously considering surgical accentuating, etc.
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- September 2, 2018 at 11:47 am #10369Miss CloéMANAGING AMBASSADOR
- August 5, 2018 at 8:18 am #2474
Hi Mia! Great article! I have been reading a lot about conversing WITH people and not at them. I was an officer in the Military and a Medic. I am also descended from Royalty in Europe, all-though born in Canada. I was so used to speaking at people and giving orders and that was hard to over-come. Thankfully, I have over-come that trait. The “Act” part was slower in coming….battlefield you know. Now I listen first……yes some people do prefer a title or classification that they can be comfortable with. A books cover never tells you what is inside until you “open it”. Unless you are reading a training manual. I possess the “Sir or Dame” title but if it is not used in addressing, I don’t care. I use Dame with CDH and TGH just to differentiate me from other Veronicas, LOL.
Etiquette and diplomacy are a must in dealing with people……..although same is often not deployed by most people to-day. That is sad and creates a great deal of misunderstanding and hostility. These two items should be taught in school….makes for a more genteal world (a new word from me, so as not to offend Gentiles). Take care…..perhaps more articles about decorum are forthcoming????? Thank you.
Dame Veronica Graunwolf
- August 5, 2018 at 4:24 am #2402Jaime ParrisFREE
It’s tricky even asking. I have one androgynous-looking co-worker. I asked the person “What’s your preferred pronoun.” They didn’t understand what I was asking. After two weeks, I found out that they preferred “she”.
If there is any confusion about your gender or name, it’s up to you to correct and inform the person misgendering you. I know that gets tiring. People judge the book by the cover more then we like to admit.
I think the thing that everybody needs to remember is just be respectful. Apologize when you make a mistake. It’s also our responsibility as a transgender person not to be mean to someone when they make a mistake with you. Again, it’s get tiring having to take the high road all the time. It will pay off later on.
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