I honestly didn’t plan to write about this because it seemed to be so insignificant, however I thought about the interaction multiple times throughout the night last night and again many times today. This considered, I deduced that it is very significant!
I have a very good friend that I have known since high school. He is also one of the first long time friends that I told about my transition. He seemed very understanding and extremely supportive when I told him 3 years ago. I have interacted with him many times periodically over this time and he had always seemed supportive.
Last night we started talking via text as I informed him that a mutually loved musical/ theatre artist (Meatloaf) has passed away. We exchanged multiple messages and this led into the passing of his long time loved dog, and my dog who passed away last year as well. He messaged “we [my girlfriend and I] are here for you.” I replied, “Love you both” and his response? “Love you too BRO”.
Really? So in the same exchange of messages telling me verbatim that you support me, you are purposely and consciously mis-gendering me? Any time something like this happens it feels like you have been punched in the stomach. Some days are worse than others depending on anything else similar that may have happened that day, but I feel like over time you seem to numb to the effects on you when something like this happens.
I try to understand though. Why do people do this? Especially someone who says that they care about you. Are they trying to make a political statement of some sort? Did I do something that upset them and they are nothing more than striking back?
It’s hard to say what instigated this unless you ask. But I can tell you that when you feel like this after something like that is said it is often hard to continue conversation with them. I stopped the exchange and just let it go for the night. To be completely honest I deleted that text so that I wouldn’t have to look at it any time I opened my text menus. But again; I have been thinking about it since. So after waiting nearly 24 hours I texted him back “Wow shots fired! Not really sure why but okay 🤔”
I know that many of you who are transitioning or have transitioned cringe when this happens to you also, but for those of you who do not really understand this reaction please read further and I will do my best to explain.
When someone transitions it is rarely for attention. We transition because it is easier to live with frequent hostility projected toward you; and sometimes threats of physical violence than to live any longer in the image of a gender that you absolutely do not identify with. As time passes there are (if you are lucky) many people in your life and hopefully work that will respectfully accept and treat you as the gender that you identify and the person that you are.
But when you are mis-gendered it can tear away the validation that you feel. It can be painful and if it is done on purpose especially by someone that you care about and thought cared for you it is horrible. It can be thought about for days, weeks and sometimes years and even tear friendships irreparably.
Considering the very high rate of suicides and attempts in the Transgender Community, and the hostility displayed by the world that we live in…. PLEASE do not purposely mis-gender people. WE ARE WHO WE SAY WE ARE. WE ARE NOT LIVING THIS LIFE TO HURT YOU, BUT TO STOP THE PAIN THAT WE HAVE ENDURED USUALLY FOR LIFE.
As always; I’m Mel and this is my opinion 🙂
Love you all and THANK YOU FOR READING MY ARTICLES!!