When you use an incorrect pronoun or other gendered language, such as titles, terms of endearment, or pronouns, you are misgendering. Similarly, people can use the wrong pronouns or language when they assume the gender of a person based on their appearance.
It is important to understand that transgender people can suffer negative consequences as a result of misgendering. They may feel disrespected, invalidated, and unsafe as a result. Additionally, it can lead to social isolation and discrimination.
When transgender people are misgendered, they experience the following consequences:
Mental health problems: Misgendering can cause a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies have shown that transgender people experiencing mental health problems are more likely to be misgendered than transgender people not misgendered.
Social isolation: Misgendering can also cause trans people to feel alone and isolated. Because they fear misgendering or discrimination, they may avoid social situations. They can become lonely and socially isolated, which can negatively impact their physical and mental health.
Discrimination: People who are misgendered may be discriminated against. Due to their gender identity, they may be denied employment, housing, or healthcare. It is also possible for them to be harassed or assaulted.
Violence: Transgender people can also face violence due to misgendering. There is a higher incidence of violence among transgender people compared to cisgender people. As a result of misgendering, transgender people can be more vulnerable to violence as targets of discrimination and hatred.
Misgendering trans people has the following consequences:
At the grocery store, a cashier calls a trans woman "sir." As a result, she feels humiliated and disrespected.
A teacher calls their male student "miss" at school. It frustrates and invalidates him.
Transgender people are asked to use the men's restroom at public places, despite identifying as women. It makes them feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
A trans person's family and friends constantly misgender them. As a result, they feel isolated and alone.
At a traffic stop, a police officer misgendered a trans person. The situation escalates, resulting in their arrest.
How to avoid misgendering trans people:
Respect people's pronouns: Respecting people's pronouns is the best way to avoid misgendering them. Whenever you are unsure of someone's pronouns, you can simply ask them.
Be mindful of your language: When speaking with transgender people, use language that is respectful. You should avoid using gendered terms like "sir" or "ma'am" unless you know the person is comfortable with them.
Use people's chosen names and titles. Respect begins with this gesture.
Educate yourself: Gain an understanding of trans people and gender identity. Using the correct pronouns and language will help you to understand their importance.
If you make a mistake, apologize and correct yourself. In spite of mistakes, we should respect the gender identity of others.
A transgender person can experience serious consequences if they are misgendered. Taking the time to be gender-affirming is important and you should be aware of the potential impact of your words.