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Misgendering and deadnaming is violence

 

I chose a strong term, violence, for a very good reason...

I saw a really good guide to getting better with pronouns on Facebook recently and it includes some really key elements of advice that I often give when asked:

  • If you catch the mistake in the moment, correct yourself and continue.
  • If you are corrected in the moment, accept the correction, make the correction, and continue.
  • Don't seek absolution from the person when you make a mistake.
I can say, for that last one, that I really don't want to have to put aside my feelings to make others feel better for causing those feelings in the first place. That should not be a reasonable expectation of me.

So, why did I call misgendering and deadnaming violence? Both of these exact a deep emotional toll on trans people, this is why transphobes deliberately seek to do it, to create the toll. The need to stop and address, even just internally, my reaction to these is difficult and draining. It takes me out of any conversation I am in, even momentarily, so that I can bring my fight/flight response back under control. If it happens repeatedly in a conversation, then I really just check out and look to get away as soon as possible. 

I have said that one of the most painful parts of being trans is that my right to live in dignity, free from discrimination and with autonomy, is seen to be a free-for-all debate in the public discourse. A fundamental act of discrimination, in this respect, is misgendering and deadnaming. Trans people need, desperately, for our allies and supporters to get past "I'm trying" and to care enough to simply do it.

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