Misgendered at Work
Oh God…the old familiar dilemma that every trans woman experiences at one time or another.
There are three types of misgendering:
A. Malicious- When people intentionally misgender you as a sort of dig. Its done intentionally with the aim of belittling you.
B. The Slip- This is when good, well meaning people make an innocent mistake. Its not done consciously, it seldom happens and its usually followed by an apology. I’ve done it myself and its embarrassing to everyone involved.
C. The Numbskull- There’s one in almost every work environment. These are the people who simply lack social grace. They usually are those people who stumble through their day in autopilot without much thought. Change freaks them out and they function out of reflex rather than thought.
I work with a great bunch of women….and one numbskull.
Most of my co-workers see me as a valid woman. We interact in a way that any group of women does. We confide in each other, we laugh, we gossip, we cry and we can be catty at times.
Then there’s the numbskull.
She’s a middle aged woman who presents sloppily, has a limited vocabulary, has been married for a century, never misses a break, complains constantly and is generally a sloth.
So this numbskull has misgendered me 15 times in three months. Each time she does it, I correct her. She has done it in front of patients and other co-workers.
When I call her out on it, she has responded in various ways.
One time she said, “Did I say that?”. Another time she tapped her forehead and said, “I don’t know why I keep doing that.”
You get the picture.
So I finally had my fill of this bullshit. I spoke to my supervisor and to the director of our Transgender Health Program (Who happens to be a trans man). I told them what was going on and I said that I just wanted them to be aware of the situation. They offered to intercede and I told them that I handled the matter but that if it happens again I’m going to “Run that fucking flag up the pole” and file a complaint with human resources.
So the numbskull is on thin ice. My employer is very pro transgender and a formal complaint could cost her the job. Be that as it may, I’m done with people who can’t exert the energy to think before they speak. I’m not a fucking doormat and while Ill give a person a chance (In this case 15 chances) I have my limits.
Its up to us as individuals to handle misgendering as we see fit. There are no hard fast rules to what you should tolerate or how you should deal with this hurtful behavior. We all have varying tolerance levels and different personalities as trans women.
After reading this you can see where my head is at.
I’m tolerant but I’m not stupid nor am I willing to sacrifice my dignity for the sake of “keeping the peace” and avoiding conflict.
Wrong girl to take for granted!