We’ve all been there. Bwog can teach you how to recover expertly and gracefully so your trans and/or nonbinary friends don’t have to.
So, you’ve just misgendered your friend in front of someone else. Now what? Maybe you haven’t spoken to a trans person (or any person) offline in a hot minute, perhaps you mixed up this one-night stand with the other blue-haired, English major hottie from last week, or it’s just really hard for you to wring out that cisnormative societal conditioning. Whatever the case, Bwog is here for you.
Sometimes, you can simply fix it in the act. Let’s say you she/her your new they/thestie (they/them bestie). The best and easiest move is to fix it as soon as it happens and move on. Correct yourself or make sure you use the right pronoun for the rest of the discussion and the future. Now, you’re free to continue gushing about how your new friend has the best sense of style, the coolest haircut, the cutest smile, a laugh that sounds like bells, and focus on your impending sexuality crisis instead of your mistake.
Important note: you should still be correcting yourself even if you’re not with your they/thestie!!
But what if you are with your thestie? Frankly, using the third person to refer to people in front of you happens a lot more than trans and enby people ever realize before coming out. We’re all omnipotent freaks deep down. Your friend may correct you. You might catch yourself, or you might not. It happens!!! We all come from different backgrounds and have different hurdles to overcome. As long as you don’t make a habit of it, your friend likely won’t be super annoyed. Maybe you can throw in a, “My bad” if it feels right.
If you don’t notice until later in the conversation, don’t revert to the moment, just make sure you’re correct for the rest of the discussion or the next discussion/anarchist jam session/zine-making event/one-night stand/Nietzsche class.
But again, the most important thing is to just move on and try not to repeat the offense. We repeat, just MOVE ON.
It’s not that hard.
All you have to do is move on.
That’s it. That’s the solution. Just keep going and ignore the incident. Fix it for the future.
Glad we all could learn something today.
If you’re this far in the article, you probably think we’re wrong. Maybe you feel like you should apologize. Maybe you feel like you should explain that your town in Utah didn’t have any trans people, that you went to catholic school, that you’re face-blind or that yourwu’re reaqllly drunkds rigasht nowwwwwwwwwww. You want thestie to know that you’re not like other girls, that it really was an accident, that you don’t do this often and you’re so, so sorry. Whatever excuse you have, thestie’s heard some variation of it before. And thestie doesn’t care. It’s not thestie’s job to exonerate you and apologizing and explaining puts the burden on them to forgive you. Trust us when we tell you that the more apologetic or defensive someone gets about the misgendering, the more it’s remembered; apologizing forces a spotlight onto the misgendering. It can out the person as being trans if they haven’t told people, increase dysphoria, and just create an uncomfortable situation for thestie.
So, the next time you mess up referring to earth-related name, your film project partner, either immediately fix it or make a mental note to fix it for the future and MOVE THE FUCK ON.
Stressed individual via Flickr