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Thread: Hello, I'm . . . Why do I Still need to remind you?

  1. #1
    happy to be her Sarah Doepner's Avatar
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    Hello, I'm . . . Why do I Still need to remind you?

    I've been out publicly, totally, legally for well over a year and less than totally to the entire world for much longer. So over these holidays I spent time with people I've known for many, many years (some over 50) so they've got a lot of history with me as male. They've been great support as I've pursued my transition and it's making the whole process much better knowing I have that base on my side.

    However, despite gentle reminders and frequent self-corrections they still tend to dead name me and use male pronouns for me. I'm trying to avoid being militant but it's making me think I've not done enough to give all the female cues they need to remind them of my identity as a woman. I've been presenting full time as female for the last nearly two years, had BA and FFS around my eyes, cheeks, nose and upper lip. I'm going to be meeting these folks and another couple at a national park later in February and would like to avoid getting dead named without dampening the joy of being with people I love in a place I've never been.

    I'm thinking of wearing one of those sticker badges that say "Hello! My name is . . ." and filling it in with -

    Sarah
    (She/her/hers)

    - as a gentle way to do this. Does anyone have suggestions that have worked for them but didn't push people away?
    Sarah
    Being transgender isn't a lifestyle choice. How you deal with it is.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member kimdl93's Avatar
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    Old habits are hard to break. I like the nametag idea!

  3. #3
    Gold Member Lana Mae's Avatar
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    The nametag sounds good! I am out at work and most call me Lana but a few use the dead name! They all knew me before as Harry and are trying their best! What is kinda cute is calling me Lana followed shortly by "sir"! I wish you luck with that! My daughter got me a Trans flag pin with "Hello. My pronouns are she/ her/ hers!" for Christmas! It probably will not help but it was a kind gesture! Love my residents anyway! Hugs Lana Mae
    Life is worth living!
    "Foxy lady! You look so good!!" Jimi Hendrix

  4. #4
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    Sarah, so much of human memory relies on primacy that those who have known you the longest may not be able to stop themselves, easily at least. You are the person they know, the name is more part of the filing system and not being judgmental (for many/most, some quite possibly are and will remain so). Nicknames are only lost by losing the ones who know you by it, your HS friends remember you as the person who did well in math and went by whatever nickname.

    You are living your life, your way, and enjoying yourself, I'd look forward to your summer adventure knowing there will be a few, maybe too many, times you hear the old file name. They're not looking at your exterior, they are just seeing the person they've known and connected with, maybe having a few laughs over it will help them "rename" your file.

  5. #5
    Little Mrs. Snarky! Nadine Spirit's Avatar
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    I have no idea when the last time was that I was misgendered when out in public, with people who don't know me. When was I last misgendered? By my wife 6 days ago. Before that? It was a woman I work with. The times before that? All at work. Before that? It was this summer with my sister and her husband.

    Bummer. It really hurts. What have I done about it? At work, I've had my boss talk to a few people, some other people I've had cited under Title IX, as I work in a school. With friends and family I have shared more about how I feel internally as a transgender human, and most specifically how I struggle quite a bit with awful self images and frequent thoughts of suicide.

    Has it helped? Maybe. It's been 3.5 years since I legally and socially transitioned, and I still think it's just going to take more time, and exposure to me being myself, for these new memories to overwrite their old memories.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Aspiring Member Dorit's Avatar
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    I think that we all have to be very patient with those close to us and have known us before transition for many years. Especially for us older girls, it took many years for us to accept ourselves, we have to allow others that it might take them years too.

  7. #7
    Silver Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    It takes time. More precisely, it takes time and familiarity. If your interactions are intermittent, it's going to take longer. You will have to repeatedly correct some of them. Let your judgement guide you on how firm those corrections should be. You may reach a point with some that a direct confrontation is in order, wherein you pointedly ask them why they're still dead-naming you or using the wrong pronouns. If, after you've let them know that their behavior is hurtful and disrespectful, consider not wasting your time on them.
    "Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones."
    -- John Lennon

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  8. #8
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    I basically let everyone in my family use my old male name which is not my current legal name, nor was is it ever my legal name. More like saying Sasha for Alexander/Alexandra for example. It took me a while to be at peace with it. It is like in Feel Good movie, one female character was going by George. As odd as it was to get used to it, it was OK after a while.
    However, I do ask everyone to use she/her (or also they/them if we speak in English). My partner and my kids do. My father - nope, my brother - nope, in-laws - nope. These are the people I talk to almost every day. It hurts. I asked them before to change, numbers of times. They don't budge. They all love me, for real, but willfully continues to ignore my requests.
    Sorry, I have no suggestions. I think wearing a tag with these people is useless. They will still ignore it, and it will hurt even more.
    Hugs.
    Katya

  9. #9
    If only you could see me sarahcsc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Doepner View Post
    Does anyone have suggestions that have worked for them but didn't push people away?
    I'm sorry that you are going through this and I admit it is difficult. Others have pointed out this usually occurs with people who are familiar with us and therefore we should look at this as a reflection of how comfortable they feel around us as opposed to any deep-seated unconscious bias (it is possible, but unlikely).

    There are two simple (but easier said than done) tricks you can employ to reduce misgendering.

    First, tell your friend to slow down when talking to you. We tend to speak our minds very quickly when we feel safe and familiar but that also works against us because we end up making more mistakes in the pronouns department. It isn't so much a matter of willpower, it is a matter of habit. So please encourage them to just slow their words down so they can think more carefully before they speak. Acknowledge that it is a bit tiring to start with but assure them it won't last forever and that they will eventually get used to it.

    The second tip goes hand-in-hand with the first, and should not be attempted unless you have tried the first. That is, bring in a third-party member who has no knowledge of your prior identity into the mix. As a group, we tend to want to mimic each other and the hope is for your friends to mimic the third-party member who will use gender-appropriate pronouns seeing that they have no prior knowledge or habit of addressing you as a man. But it is important to have primed your friend group not to misgender you otherwise you risk having the third-party member mimicking them instead!

    If you're serious about this, I'll even throw in a third tip that will work 98% of the time and is fun for all to try. Bring with you a mini-whiteboard and whiteboard pen when you are next hanging out with your friends. Tell them that you will count the times they misgender you and write the total count on the whiteboard for all to see. This will certainly get the attention of your friends 98% of the time assuming that 2% either have trouble reading/counting or that they simply don't care. You need to consider very carefully what to do with friends who don't care about your feelings.

    Correcting others is necessary at the start but I agree that it gets old after a while. However, you are not a militant (at least in my definition) if you are doing this as a way of standing up for yourself, you are just a survivalist. You become a militant when you start fighting other people's battles even when they don't want you to.

    So keep trying, keep surviving, bring your little whiteboard with you the next time you go out, and let me know how you go. Haha. Good luck.

    Love,
    S
    "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me" - Ayn Rand

  10. #10
    Aspiring Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarahcsc View Post
    But it is important to have primed your friend group not to misgender you otherwise you risk having the third-party member mimicking them instead!
    This is so true. After spending one week with my brother and his family, I noticed that number of times my partner would use my old pronoun by mistake went up.

    I also noticed that in general, my in-laws and my brother have no problem to use he/him in the same conversation with my kids and my partner who use she/her when talking about me. It is almost like they speak two different languages when my name comes up. Sounds weird and frustrating.
    Last edited by Katya@; 01-05-2022 at 11:40 PM.

  11. #11
    Reality Check Krisi's Avatar
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    It would be really hard for most folks who have known someone for a lifetime to suddenly switch from thinking of them as a man to thinking of them as a woman. I don't think your friends are doing this intentionally, it's just habit.

    If this bothers you,maybe you shouldn't be around these people. Find new friends that know you only as a female.
    Krisi

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