Dealing with Misgendering as a Transgender Person
Misgendering is a painful experience that many transgender people face on a regular basis. It occurs when someone refers to a transgender person by the wrong gender pronouns or terms.
In this article, transgender YouTuber Nofar Morali shares her personal experiences with dealing with misgendering ad a transgender person and offers advice for coping.
The Pain of Being Misgendered
In the early stages of her transition, Morali often got misgendered because she looked young and masculine. Being referred to as "he" or "him" instead of "she" and "her" hurt her deeply. Morali says she cannot stand being misgendered because it causes intense gender dysphoria.
While some people misgender trans people intentionally out of hate, others do it unintentionally out of ignorance about what it means to be transgender.
Morali recently discovered another form of unintentional misgendering that stems from confusion rather than gender identity.
Misgendering by a Family Member
Morali's 86-year-old grandmother, who lives in a retirement home, would frequently refer to Morali as "he" even though she knew Morali had transitioned.
Morali was very hurt by this because she passed as a female in public. She couldn't understand why her grandmother, who supported her transition, would misgender her.
After two years of tension, Morali visited her grandmother again. The misgendering continued, devastating Morali. She swore off contact with her grandmother again.
Realizing the Misgendering Was Unintentional
When Morali's grandmother was hospitalized after an accident, Morali visited her with other female family members. Shockingly, her grandmother referred to Morali's cisgender cousin with male pronouns.
Morali realized the misgendering wasn't personal; her grandmother was just confused.
This discovery relieved Morali. She understood her grandmother's misgendering wasn't because Morali looked masculine or failed to pass as female. Her grandmother sometimes mixed up pronouns for cisgender family members too due to her age. Morali felt free to rebuild their relationship.
Coping Tips for Misgendering
- Remember misgendering often isn't intentional or personal, especially from elderly family members. Don't assume it's due to your appearance.
- Your inner peace and self-worth matter more than misgendering. Don't let it devastate you.
- Feeling confident and relaxed in yourself can prevent misgendering and help you brush it off when it happens.
- Seek support from loved ones who understand misgendering isn't your fault. You are valid.
Morali's story offers hope for overcoming misgendering with self-love, understanding, and community support. Remember you define your gender, not others' perceptions.