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


  • This topic has 4 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 7 months ago by Anonymous.
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    • #140510
      Lauren Mugnaia

      It happened to me today. I am a trans woman, an intersex female with ample ID to prove the point.
      I was at a pharmacy, standing in line at the cashier, with my arms full of feminine hygiene and beauty products. It’s now my turn, and the young male cashier asks, “May I help you, sir?” I was momentarily stopped in my tracks, but said nothing and paid for my purchase. The cashier asked me if I’d like a bag and I said, “Yes please”, thanked him and left. According to friends and co workers I speak in a very acceptable feminine voice, I was fully dressed, hair done, makeup, and was talking with a girlfriend who was with me. I really don’t know why he chose to misgender me.

      It doesn’t happen that often, in fact in the 19 months that I have been living as a woman, it has only occurred half a dozen times, so I really can’t complain. But for some reason, this time it really bugged me, and I’m wondering what my response should be when it happens.

      Your thoughts???


      Ms. Lauren M

    • #140511
      Toni Floria

      It’s happened to me too.  It’s to say the least disappointing I think you handled it as well as possible sometimes we have to suck it up and keep going you go girl!

    • #140516

      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

    • #140520
      DeeAnn Hopings

      My responses are varied. Often it depends upon how I am feeling.

      One time I was in the LA area with members of my car club. After visiting the Nethercutt Museum (which is a wonderful place and not only cars), we went to a restaurant for lunch, I went to the cashier to pay. She said “Yes, sir” and looked at her and said “Really?”. She was so rattled that she did my bill 3 different times. I really wanted to laugh, but I held it together.

      Another time I was checking out at our local CostCo. This time it was a guy. He said “Hello, sir”. I looked at him and cleared my throat. He went into: “Oh, sorry Ma’me. Very sorry. Yes Ma’me.”. Same reaction for me!

    • #140551

      Hello Lauren, we as a gender (trans) have a strange set of notions, getting upset when someone uses bad english around us, I am actually more offended when someone curses. Of course I have by accident misgendered someone, others have misgendered me no matter how I am presenting. I have seen other people both cis and trans alike misgender each other, whether the other are cis or not. When in male mode people used she/he/Miss at me once in a while, and in female mode the opposite is true I had people use he/him/Sir. When someone calls my very feminine wife (5’5″ with plenty of curves) a sir she does not batt an eye.

      I am fairly sure It happens everyday because people usually do not pay attention, they are too wrapped up in whatever they are doing, and only took a super quick glance or are using peripherals to ID your presence. Unfortunately as a culture we Americans care too much about our selves and to blame someone who was raised as a self centered individual is almost as self centered as the person you are blaming. So I think you did the right thing, blow it off as just another human who was not paying attention.



      Now on the other hand if someone has gone out of their way to misgender you, I have had this happen as well. This is where your grace and poise comes in. Depending on you upbringing is how you handle when someone is being deliberately rude to you. If you are a typical male a punch on the nose might be appropriate, of course so is a night in the slammer. If you are Royalty a witty blow or “off or off with his head” to underlings might work. Do whatever works best for you. I tend to just simply ignore them as well and treat same as people not paying attention, it is their misfortune that they are rude not mine. More than likely a person who is verbally wanting to fight you is scared of you, and sees are part of them selfs in you, this scars them deep down thus they pick the fight vs flight response. And to fight them is the uncivilized thing to do also it is the masculine thing to do. Plus breaking a nail is always a pain in the rump.



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