Pronouns and misuse

 Last night at a transgender support group, I presented my version of  "What would I tell my younger self". It was quite an emotional night for, not just because of the content of the post, either. 

A little background is in order.

In the group we often open with an "ice breaker", just to get a few giggles and relax folks to get the conversation flowing. When there's a new person, we go around the zoom call "room" and give our name and pronouns. I've said "Hi, my name is Jaimie, I use she/her pronouns", 30 times in the last year. As has nearly all the trans folks on the call each week. This week we used the classic ice breaker two truths and a lie. A few folks gave theirs, we had a few laughs learned a few things about each other. Then it was my turn, I gave mine "I own Disney vacation club, I've been to China twice and I've seen the Rolling Stones 30 times". Doesn't really matter which is a lie, it's what happen next that's inspiring me to write today. One of the trans women then referred to me with the wrong pronouns...

UGHHHHH wtf?

I realize I don't have a high squeaky voice like Jean Kasem, it's much more like Kathleen Turner (just the voice, I don't have any delusions that I look anything like the blonde in "Body Heat").  However I have taken voice lessons and my voice is naturally higher than my wife's. This weekly hour is supposed to be a safe space, that's why in zoom we put our preferred first names and pronouns in the name space. Why the tenants of the group are:

Ground Rules:

  1. MUTUAL RESPECT- This is a safe space! Everyone's transition is different, everyone's gender expression is different, and no matter how—it’s okay. Let go of preconceived ideas of gender binary roles.

  2. ACCOUNTABILITY- Please speak up is someone makes a mistake or offends you. We want to have open and honest conversation in order to grow with each other.

  3. BE MINDFUL- of other participants, allow for everyone to have a chance to speak.

  4. CONFIDENTIALITY- You all signed a consent form to honor what is shared within the group. What happens in group stays in group.

 

Did I do something to make this happen? Did I violate a rule? I don't think so, but if I did I'll apologize, in the group. Of all places, with other transgender folks, you'd think such behavior would never ever happen. When I'm with friends and/or family members that have known me from before, especially just after I came out, there were slips followed by quick apologies, it doesn't bother me at all. When I'm with a professional facilitator and other trans women, at a transgender support group and it happens it's surprising and disappointing. Thankfully the facilitator stepped in and used the correct pronouns, sort of gently correcting the misuse. 

Anyway, it sucked and hurt and I'm over it. Alright, I may some delusions, just not about Ms Turner.

Comments

  1. So did you follow group rule #2 and speak up?! (Selina)

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    Replies
    1. Yes I did, but no good deed goes unpunished. I sent an email to the facilitator after the meeting suggesting that maybe a good topic for a future meeting would be to review trans gender fundamentals. She agreed and suggested that I do it.

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