How to deal with misgendering
To start with this is incorrect. It should be “WHO are you anyway?” Still it’s insulting. Following this often comes the torrent:
“You’ll never be a woman”. “What are you?” “Are you neutral, a nothing?” Why do you think you can pretend to be another gender?” “No one will accept you.” “Do you really think life is going to work out if you change?” “Do you know what you’re throwing away?”” Have you really thought about this?”
And my favorite: “You playing God!” (If I were, there are many other aspects of the World I would be changing. Starting with discrimination, all kinds of it!)
These are the questions, the insults the cruel statements, people who are supposed to love us throw at us. They’re meant to stop us living authentically. These abusive accusations are meant to hurt us at the core, and they do. Yet they don’t take away the dysphoria.
What if our gender isn’t binary? what if we know we aren’t solely a man or a woman? What if we have multiple genders or none?
How are we supposed to go through our life not identifying as who we really are inside? How can we look at a face which doesn’t match our inside? Every day we have to pretend. Every day we put on our amour. We may put on our mask. We try to be the person you want us to be, try to squash down the person we really are. However, this is a poison inside our body.
Sometimes, we try to silence who we really are. We may try to be an exaggerated version of the gender you gave us – we might get lots of tattoos, go to the gym, muscle up, join the Forces – “be a real man?!” We might dye our hair, curl our lashes, get the false nails, buy a new dress – be overtly female. Does this make us magically forget being transgender? No, it makes us more distressed.
Is this what you want for us? Would you do this, hide every day? Would you squash down who you are, walk around with a ball of pain? Would you sign yourself up for a life that isn’t yours? Forever pretend to be a role that someone else gave you?
Unlikely. Yet, you demand that from us. So now, YOU are playing God, not us!
So, how can we survive this treatment? Well, there are many strategies, here’s a few:
-link in with your transgender community. Find comfort in meeting people like you. Feel safe enough to share common struggles
-if possible, distance yourself from toxic people and environments
-learn how to set and safely set boundaries with those who emotionally abuse you
-read and watch content made by transgender specialized Therapists and doctors, not TikTok and Instagram
-connect with the many support options available from organizations such as Transhub, Many Genders One Voice, ATSAQ, Thorne Harbour Health, Twenty10 and many more
-research the data about the genetic and DNA component of being transgender. Know that you were born this way, you are a wonderful creation
-laugh, as much as you can. Watch transgender comedians, favourite movies
-wear your most treasured gender affirming clothing (even if it’s under your work uniform). You can still be your true self under cover
You will grow a tough hide my delightful rainbow. You will learn how to stand your ground. You will know when to stay quiet, though silently ignoring the insults. You are stronger than they can ever imagine, now soar my beauty!