GQ Challenge: Day 17

The Genderqueer Challenge is here.

17. How do you, or would you, deal with being misgendered?

Okay so this question seems to have two sides: how you deal with the misgendering from a practical point of view and how you deal with it emotionally.

For the first part, I’m really bad in that I do absolutely nothing. I may wince a little bit, but I don’t actively ask people not to call me a woman or use the incorrect pronouns, mainly because I’m a bit of a wimp and don’t like confrontation. Whilst I know that I have every right to tell people that they have to refer to me correctly since they do it for literally everyone else, I always feel that the other person isn’t exactly going to see it that way — most people think that changing their perception of a person as a certain gender is extra work, and so being strict with it probably seems quite mean to them. I’m not a strict person, and I’m not very good at being mean (even if it only seems mean). It also probably doesn’t help that most people know I’m nonbinary because they follow me on Tumblr and so I’ve actually never spoken to them about it in person; I’ve had pretty much no practice with sitting down face-to-face and talking about my gender and pronouns and things, so nobody I know actually has any idea what I find acceptable from them, so explaining it later on feels like an imposition, not to mention the fact that I simply haven’t had any practice in speaking about it so just don’t know how to go about it. Hopefully one day I’ll get better at it, but I think it’s part of a larger problem I have of being afraid of confrontation that I’ll probably have to work on first.

Onto how I emotionally deal with being misgendered pretty much on a daily basis… mainly, I’m just very good at ignoring upsetting things and not thinking about them. I avoid thinking about how Person A has forgotten to use my pronouns, and that means that they still see me as a girl and are really just humouring me with the pronouns. I avoid thinking about how Person B has used gendered terms for me again, and it makes me feel like I need to punch something but I know that it’d be even worse if I explained to them that I don’t like those terms and why. It works quite well for me, really. I’m sure that the proper response is to work through it, rather than ignore it, but honestly the only thing that would help is if people were to stop doing it — which brings me back to being more assertive, picking people up on it when they misspeak, and coming out to more people. One day, I’ll hopefully be a valued member of the Pronoun Police, but for now I’ve got a bunch of stuff to work up to.

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