It’s not difficult.

William wrote…

Getting my pronoun right should be easy. I have a boy’s name, I look like a boy, I dress like a boy. Having known me for years as a girl might make you have to think before you speak but most people can and do get used to it in a couple of months. What annoys me is when people who NEVER knew me as a girl but happen to know I’m trans get it wrong… It’s not difficult.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on November 11th, 2009 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 10 comments »

10 Responses to “It’s not difficult.”

  1. puck

    what makes william a boy’s name?
    what makes william “look like” a boy, how do those clothes have gender?


  2. Jack

    It sucks when you are clearly trying to present as a certain gender (or non-gender) and people insist on treating you as if you are something different. I’m having a hard time at the moment persuading my mother to use the right pronouns for a transboy she knows, it’s one of the reasons I haven’t come out to her (if she’s having trouble using one set of pronouns for one person I shudder to think at how she’ll react to using two sets for me).


  3. William

    Puck – I look like me. And that happens to (almost) fit in with society’s idea of what a boy “should” look like. I’d be less annoyed if I didn’t look the way they expect a boy to look, I might understand how someone could make that mistake. But what’s happening isn’t that anyone’s confused about what I am, they can see the boy I want them to see, they can see *ME* and it’s obvious that I’m a “he”. If I was a cis boy, they wouldn’t get it wrong, but I dare to be out as trans and be proud of what I am – and this is what I get.


  4. Beth

    I have a transguy friend I used to make mistakes with. The only reason why I made mistakes is that I had seen him a few times around campus before we met officially, so the only thing I had him in my mind as was “that nice (butchy/masculine-looking) girl I see around.” I noticed he was female-bodied, so that was how my mind programmed his identity before I knew him. But now when I see someone who I think might be presenting as male/female, I’m much more attuned to letting him/her clue me in as to what pronouns to use.

    For some people it’s just hard to rewire their brains and not make mistakes, even if they mean well and don’t intend to offend you. I know I pissed my friend off a couple times, even though I knew he knew I wasn’t doing it deliberately.


  5. puck

    @William, yeah.

    i know where you were going, and it’s shitty that you have to deal with it – but i also fear that such binary expectations are what got us here in the first place, and it… seems a little like the logic suggests that only folks who fit societal expectations of gender presentation deserve to have their identities honored.

    which is obviously not what you’re trying to say – but i think it can show up in the words that you used. so i was questioning them, and not you. xo


  6. William

    Puck, I understand, my friend. My original post was badly-worded as I was so annoyed at this (the new term just started and I’m a member of the LGBT Commitee so I kinda have to be “out” about who I am so the freshers understand why I’m even with LGBT). I get called “sir” in restruants now, lots of people on my course have no idea that I’m trans and I’m finally getting treated the way I’ve always wanted to be – and just telling someone I’m trans can change that.

    I know that as a binary trans person, I have it easier. It’s easier for me to get the social role I want, to present how I want and eventually get the medical transition I need as a binary-gendered person. My partner is non-binary, I worked out last night that I’m friends with people of 10 separate gender identities and it’s harder for them to get the treatment they need from people. I know how much it makes my partner smile if I switch hir pronoun half way through a sentence or talk for ten minutes without using a pronoun at all and I feel priveliged that I can demand my pronoun preference from everyone but sie feels unable to demand hir preference even from me. It isn’t fair – on any of us.

    And I’ll be ashamed here to admit that I toned down the more femme aspects of my presentation in order to get some acceptance as a boy. I wear a lot less jewelry now. I’ll wear more post-transition but right now it upsets me more to get mis-gendered than it does that I am conforming more than I should. I wish I was braver.


  7. Andy

    Don’t doubt your bravery, William–you are taking steps that some of us (like myself) haven’t even moved towards just yet. These things takes time. It’s a complicated, messy, unnverving process.


  8. Lilybean

    William – in response to your ‘Ashamed to admit’ bit:

    Is the use of you preferred pronoun worth sacrificing a part of who you are?

    My personal answer is ‘no’, but it’s something to think about.


  9. William

    Lilybean – For now, yes. That pronoun is a bigger part of who I am and it’s I sacrificed for 19 years just to make other people happy. I still wear jewelry, I still push the boundaries of what people are willing to see as male. I still unashamedly collect dolls and watch “girly” movies. For most of the first year of my life as a visible boy I had a plait down to my waist on one side of my head. I wore that for religious reasons and would sacrifice it for the pronouns I need. I know what is important to me and it’s really important to me that I’m a boy and I get treated like one. It’s maybe a silly thing to need it so much but I do. And wearing only two or three rings, only two or three necklaces and only two bracelets gets me what I need.


  10. William

    Some corrections of my above post-

    line 2 – “it’s something I sacrificed”
    line 7 – “would not sacrifice”


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