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Thread: "Passing" in a gender language country

  1. #1
    Member Dorit's Avatar
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    "Passing" in a gender language country

    Some of the recent posts, particularly about my soon coming FFS, got me to thinking about the huge difference between gender and non-gender languages and being trans. You girls in English speaking countries have no idea how easy you have it moving about in public! Besides a few pronouns like he or she and a few formal titles like sir and mam, English is a non-gendered language. When some tells you to move, sit ,stop, what do you need?, you have no idea if they are misgendering you. There is no reason for them to express how they perceived you, and you can happily go you way with the confidence that you "passed."

    Not so in Israel! Hebrew is a TOTALLY gendered language. Just a one word request like move or stop has to be spoken in the male or female, asking for something like "may I see your ticket" has to be male or female, "pass the salt" has to be male or female. everything spoken. So you instantly are always finding out how you are perceived by others. Humans have the uncanny ability to instantly recognize gender based on a one second look at a face. Clothes are secondary. Once they have gendered you, they will be very unlikely to change or correct themselves unless you correct them. I have to do this all the time, otherwise they will continue to speak to me in the male. It also works the other way, if they first address you in the female, even though your voice may be more male, they will continue in the female. You can see that in a gender language country like Israel, being accepted in the gender you are is a daily issue. Having a face perceived as female makes life so much easier!

    Also I have to make a big change in my own speaking. All my life I have spoken Hebrew in the male, now I have to speak in the female. Not easy, as you soon learn to automatically without thinking speak in your gender. Now I have to think before I speak! I often have to correct myself, and this gives me patience for family and friends that have known me for years and have to make the gender change in their speaking to me.

    So I wonder if there are any others here that are in a gender language country or community, like Spanish or French, how they have dealt with this? I do know that for myself I have gained after a long and painful struggle, the internal confidence that I am a woman, and that the issue of being misgendered in public has not kept me from being out.

  2. #2
    What is normal anyway? Rianna Humble's Avatar
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    In French, the verbs do not have gender so we do not have that particular problem.
    Nouns and adjectives do have gender but that is specific to the thing or to who/what is being described.
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  3. #3
    Gold Member Kaitlyn Michele's Avatar
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    Wow ...I never thought of that!! seems like a big deal...

    when I think that I still get some he's and him's from my family sometimes I can only imagine if there were lots more gendered words how it would be..
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  4. #4
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    I think all the Latin based languages use male or female pronouns when talking to someone. Things are either male or female, but the verbs are neutral. Now you have to correct your bad grammar that took you years to perfect!! I really do feel for you. I think that you may need a thicker skin and much more patience than us.

  5. #5
    Gold Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Dorit,
    Yes we do take so much for granted even to the point where we are free to express our thoughts on this open forum . At least you don't have the problem with members here which must be so refreshing and possibly frustrating .

    I trust your actions aren't as restricted as your spoken word ? I hope it is all going well for you .
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  6. #6
    I scare myself sometimes! docrobbysherry's Avatar
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    Dorit, language aside? I've discovered people treat u differently when u pass. Meaning people have no doubts u r a female!

    Don't confuse passing with confidence.

    Passing means: no exaggerated, "What can I get u, ma'am", comments from waitresses. No extra attention from SA's. Being hit on and treated rudely by some men.

    When u pass, people treat u very differently. Since 99% of the time I'm a MIAD, I care less if they call me, ma'am, or, sir! Because I have a mirror and know I don't pass except at Halloween!
    U can't keep doing the same things over and over and expect to enjoy life to the max. When u try new things, even if they r out of your comfort zone, u may experience new excitement and growth that u never expected.

    Challenge yourself and pursue your passions! When your life clock runs out, you'll have few or NO REGRETS!

  7. #7
    Gold Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Sherry,
    I'm sure it's not the point Dorit was making , her Hebrew language requires the conotation of gender , she herself admits having to become accustomed to her bias . Obviously others are having the same problem addressing her . It's possibly more to do with giving it time rather than the issues of passing or not , she does sound fairly confident now but while I don't know the language it obvioulsy can create problems with TG community living there .

    Rianna,
    I does appear an oddity in French that dogs are all masculine and all cats are feminine . I can't remember how you say what a bitch is in French and what gender it's given.

    We are so lucky having English as a common language , I did French, Latin and Greek at school but so glad English was my natural language , sometimes you wouldn't think so when you see the gaffs I make !
    Last edited by Teresa; 09-25-2018 at 05:21 AM.
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  8. #8
    Member Dorit's Avatar
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    There are two completely different issues with a language like Hebrew that is totally gender orientated. The easier issue is that you yourself and others that know and accept your new gender have to make a switch in talking in the new gender that you are and that can take time. The other more serious issue is that out in public you are constantly being judged as to which gender you are by everyone you come in contact with! Everyone that needs to say something to you has to make a split second decision what gender you are in order to address you properly. So being perceived as the gender you are becomes more critical if you don't want to be exposed to constant misgendering. It can be a simple as someone asking you for a pen, telling you that you may move forward in a line in a supermarket, telling you to release the brake in the car wash, asking for you ID, all is spoken either in the male of female form. These are personal examples of me being correctly gendered as female, but I could list plenty of examples where I was immediately addressed in the male. In any case, as I said before I have the internal confidence to go out there anyway, and in two days I have FFS!

  9. #9
    Gold Member Kaitlyn Michele's Avatar
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    good luck and good health with your surgery!!
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  10. #10
    Gold Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Dorit,
    So glad you have it right and all goes well .
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  11. #11
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    Good luck with the surgery!

  12. #12
    Gold Member Lana Mae's Avatar
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    Best wishes to you on your surgery! May it come out perfect! Hugs Lana Mae
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