Question: Coping with the wrong pronoun?

minefloozle asks…

I’m really sorry to be a downer, but I’m looking for some coping strategies. In the past couple of months I’ve begun slowly telling people that I’d like gender-neutral pronouns (I don’t want to come out on facebook because I’d like to get a job in science research), and while they’ve all been lovely about it, everybody keeps forgetting.

I’m too uncomfortable to correct them–I don’t want to be annoying, and it happens so much!–but it’s gotten to the point where some days I can’t hear the words “she,” “ladies,” etc. at all without feeling sick, no matter who the words are directed towards. How do you deal with casual misgendering?

(I’ve also just recently realized my gender identity, so there’s a lot of internalized doubt there already.)

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on November 17th, 2014 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 3 comments »

3 Responses to “Question: Coping with the wrong pronoun?”

  1. Monster

    Awe I get where you’re coming from. I get a feeling like that, where every female pronoun and noun resonates ultra-loud and goes right into my whole self. And it really does suck a lot.

    I’ve decided to use female pronouns almost exclusively, for various reasons, and I can tell you that some days it’s just as hard to hear those as when I first started on this “gender journey.” Sometimes, it’s a lot easier than other times, and I use the easier times to walk through coping techniques in my head.

    If someone says the name I used to have, I correct them 100% of the time. If someone says a female noun, I correct them if it’s convenient for them (like if they’re not helping a customer) – these corrections can include blatantly saying “not a Miss” or repetitions of the phrase using a gender neutral word, or just an awkward grunt. All of those things can be done inside your head if you can’t say them out loud.

    There are lots of things you can do inside your head – the nice interpersonal ones like “well that person is a really good person and is slightly misinformed and wouldn’t be a jerk on purpose.” then There’s the hateful interpersonal ones where you curse that person in your head really badly. Then there’s the ones where you’re nice to yourself like “I’m me whether they use the wrong language or not – my gender and human identities aren’t compromised by the language we use, and I can be whomever I want no matter the extent of social understanding and language.”

    If you practice self-talk in the situations where it doesn’t bother you as much, it’s easier to use it in the situations where it bothers you more.

    If you’re distressed to the point of being physically upset because of these word usages, you can use things like sensory techniques to distract yourself. Distraction works to get your mind off the horrible feeling, and yet it does’t help you prep for next time.

    Remember that everything you’re experiencing is completely valid, and that no one’s use of incorrect pronouns or nouns can change who you are or how you live. It can temporarily change how you feel, but you can do that thing where you gain control over the words, instead of the words gaining control over you.



  2. Derek

    I know what you mean. Ilm in the research field too. I try to ignore it. I tell some people some are ignorant. I tell myself I am brave to accept my confusion and try to understand what I want and how I can make my life better for. At the end of the day thats all I will have. Would love to continue you this convo. To get to know you check out my tumblr or email me


  3. Matthew/Melisa

    I’m the blunt one here. I correct people automatically if there screw up my gender. But there’s only like 10 people that know me to be gender-fluid, so it’s not a huge deal


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