Recently, I wrote a post here in Cyrsti’s Condo concerning being mis-gendered and possible being because of the “aura” I was presenting at the time.
Connie replied with this very interesting comment:
“I think that projecting one’s feminine aura is largely dependent on ignoring one’s dysphoria (Aura, Dysphoria, Ignore ya – there’s a song in there, somewhere, I believe). It’s not an easy thing to ignore, even after years of trying, and one little two-letter word is all it takes for it to raise its ugly head. When it does, though, we can learn to ignore the awful feeling it causes.
I must say that, when dealing with medical professionals, I am more forgiving. I always tell them that I’m a woman, but I want them to treat my body as it is. I had a doctor, once, who was hesitant to do the always-enjoyable prostate exam because he was afraid that he might offend me (he was trying so hard to be politically correct). I finally asked him to do the procedure, and I told him that I didn’t want to end up a woman who had died from prostate cancer. Then, there are doctors who just have a terrible bedside manner in the first place, and they only look at your body – in which case, “he” is used as it applies to the XY body being considered.
Last weekend, my wife and I attended a garden party, at which we were entertained by a string quartet playing classical music. As a musician who was brought up more on Steppenwolf than Wolfgang (Mozart), I still like to show my appreciation for a performance, and I took the opportunity to do so by talking to the second violinist at intermission (which we old rockers call a break). At the same time, my wife was talking to the violinist’s husband, and the small-world-moment turned out to be that he was a high school classmate of my wife. I had known who he was in high school, but I don’t know that I had ever really talked with him. Later, the four of us got together and talked for a bit. I couldn’t believe that he used my dead name repeatedly, even though he did attempt to correct himself in a rather-confused manner. I finally told him that I had just been called that name more times in the last five minutes than I had been in the past five years. I think he finally got it, but he had already done the damage by stirring up some of my dysphoria. What I noticed about myself, though, was that the dysphoria had subsided almost as fast as it had come up. Even his wife’s slightly invasive questions about “when I knew” and “how my children and grandchildren are taking it” didn’t really faze me, either. Actually, I had been more intimidated by her being a trained professional classical musician, in comparison to my self-taught rocker status, during our earlier discussion (OMG, does this mean I have music dysphoria, too?)
Anyway, as much as I just want to be a woman, and to be seen as one, I can’t forget that most people will still describe me as a transgender woman. That’s the best I can expect. Even if I’m referred to with the correct pronouns and name in their presence, I have to assume that some people will refer to me as “he” when I’m not around. Especially when I may never encounter that person again, it’s not worth my energy to educate them, but it’s still worth my energy to ignore the dysphoria. Thank goodness, it takes less energy to do so these days.”
I know the last time being mis-gendered happened to me, it was from my female Doctor. I went back in my mind and referenced what was going on when it happened and came up with this…First of all I was surprised when I saw her and didn’t have a chance to put up any of my usual defenses. Perhaps I became a little too relaxed and was shocked when it happened.
I do agree with Connie, a misplaced pronoun or dead name can wreak havoc with one’s gender dysphoria.