I like to think I’m generally a pretty unselfish person. I generally default to putting other’s needs and feelings ahead of mine, which I guess isn’t something you should make a habit of according to my therapist but whatever…. 😉 Anyhow, in the last year or so I’ve been dealing with my own transition and journey into the realm of being non-binary/genderqueer, and that means more focus and priority on myself and my needs than I am used to. All that is to say, STOP MAKING SOMEONE ELSE’S JOURNEY ABOUT YOURSELF.
In my experience, the hardest part of coming out isn’t just figuring things out for yourself, it is the difficulties other people bring into it because they can’t separate their own comfortable version of you from the reality. I don’t care how well-intentioned it is, but “you’ll always be *insert pre-transition name* to me!” is in no way a positive or appropriate response to someone coming out with a different gender identity than what they have been cosplaying as to that point. Stubbornly refusing to use someone’s correct pronouns because you don’t believe in or understand the concept is incredibly selfish and damaging to someone who you probably claim to care about. Their transition is hard enough without you fighting them on it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, new pronouns or names are a change for everyone and it does take time. I have yet to meet a genderqueer person who gets angry at an honest mistake, but it is important to understand that even an honest mistake still stings. I don’t want to notice it, but every time someone refers to me as “she” I feel it. I don’t want to; I want to let it go and not care, but it hurts and that’s not my choice. The closer they are to me, the more it hurts. Even at work, where I still use my given name, it takes the air out of my sails every time someone uses that name for me. I want to correct them and start using my chosen name at work, but even getting everyone to use to use the correct pronouns feels like an uphill battle.
Imagine, reader, that you are a woman, born a woman, identify as a woman, and think all this genderqueer LGBTQ+ stuff if nonsense. Fine. Now imagine you’re at the McDonald’s drive-thru and the cashier calls you “sir”. You get understandably upset and correct them. You get to the window for your pickup, and they call you “sir” again! It’s not worth the trouble to correct them so you take your food and drive off.
Now imagine everyone in your life is doing that. They call you “sir”, refer to you as “he”, and for some reason have decided your name is John or something else that just isn’t your name. That is what is comfortable for them, though. That’s how they have decided they are going to refer to you because that’s who you are to them. No matter how many times you correct people, there is only a small percentage who consistently get it right and seem to genuinely respect who you really are. The rest are split about 50/50 into two categories: 50% intend to get your pronouns and name correct but don’t quite understand it and it’s not a priority for them, so they still mess it up or just call you by name all the time to avoid the pronoun mess completely. The other 50% are willfully ignorant and either blatantly refuse to “entertain your nonsense” or pretend to care but then continue to get it wrong. Also in this category are those who would belittle you for even thinking that your name isn’t John and that you’re not a “he”.
I just gave up on a text conversation with my mom that started with me playfully asking what she would have named me if I was born with XY chromosomes instead of XX (in layperson’s terms, if I was born a boy instead of a girl), and she immediately panicked, imploring me not to be so silly and ridiculous to think I am a boy. When I assured her I am not a trans man (at least not that I am aware of currently) but am non-binary, her response was dismissive and hurtful
**I never finished this blog and I don’t think I’m going to so I’ll just post what I have**