What Grinds Our Gears: People staying silent as I get misgendered

Don’t be a bystander, help an enby out

It’s not that hard to correct people on their mistakes. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

by Meera Eragoda, Copy Editor

I am non-binary and I use they/them/theirs pronouns which most people are on board with. Of course, I am very femme-presenting so being misgendered constantly has been a reality that I’ve needed to adjust to. Because of this, I’ve also had to get used to correcting people constantly. And honestly, it gets exhausting.

I didn’t realize how much work it was until I was on a Zoom call where someone new misgendered me and a friend corrected them right away. It was nice not having to negotiate with myself about whether I wanted to feel self-conscious about speaking out, or whether it was just better to accept it and be misgendered. That was the first time I realized that all the work to correct people shouldn’t be on me, especially when those around me consider themselves allies.

So please, show up for the people in your lives that don’t use the pronouns they were assigned at birth. Correct people who misuse pronouns because you know the person being misgendered may likely be going through the same process of negotiation and internal turmoil that I have, and still do.

I realize that some people may not want more attention drawn to them with these corrections, so it’s important to have a conversation about what they feel comfortable with first — but at least let them know that you’re thinking about this. As for myself, I seriously appreciate not having the onus just on me.