So I saw this poll on Twitter the other day
And I wanted to vote, I really did. But when I tried to choose, I couldn’t.
It’s just not as simple as an obvious yes or no. It’s just not that black and white. At least not for me.
So here’s the thing, I am a trans guy but to the public I am most often seen as a butch lesbian. Does this suck? Of course it does! But who’s fault is it? I do everything I possibly can to pass as a dude, but the moment I speak, I out myself. It’s not my fault that society then immediately thinks lesbian. The one misgendering me isn’t exactly responsible either. Society has conditioned us to believe that masculine presenting, assumed females are either tomboys or lesbians. So in my case, I would still tip a server who misgendered me.
Here’s where it changes for me.
If a trans woman is presenting female and someone misgenders her that’s a whole different story.
And what about nonbinary folks? Again, as a society we are conditioned to make a decision based on our beliefs and our senses and label others as male or female. If a server misgenders a nonbinary person, how can we honestly punish them for that?
These double standards may not be fair. You may not want to agree with them but I think most people can understand what I’m saying here.
Back to who is responsible. We all are. Every single one of us has to change our deeply rooted stereotypes and language surrounding gender.
I’ve written a couple posts about the need to do away with the gender binary.
If we as a society start to adopt more gender neutral language, misgendering will become a thing of the past.
Here are some great examples of alternate language!
I don’t think we necessarily need to do away with gendered speech altogether. In fact, for many trans people it’s incredibly validating and affirming. In my day to day life with my friends & family, we use gendered language at times. But in public situations such as schools and customer service, non gendered language should become the norm.
So for myself personally, I would always tip a server even if they misgendered me. But if I happen to be at your table some day and you’re using gender neutral terms or you’ve paid close enough attention that you’re fully aware of my gender and you call me sir, I’ll most likely throw in a few more dollars!!