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The First Time I Got Misgendered

On September 29th, 2020, I came out as transgender. Of course, I knew that coming out would come with it’s troubles, but I didn’t expect it to come so fast. And one of those troubles is being misgendered. I never knew that it would hurt so much to be misgendered. I wish I knew, cause then I would’ve been able to prepare myself. Now I know that it’s inevitable.

A comic depicting how it feels to be misgendered in public

The first time I had someone misgender me was a tough time. Until this day, I still have trouble with misgendering. But I’ve become better at correcting people. Some people don’t catch on, but others do. It’s tough, being trans with people who just assume all the time. It sometimes makes me worried to go out in public. I even skipped 3 weeks of school because it brought me too much anxiety. 

But the first time I got misgendered will be a day I always remember. I remember the feelings I had, and how much it really affected me. I walked into the store with my mom and sister, I finally bought my first binder, and I was feeling amazing. The sun was shining on me and I really felt at my happiest. That soon would change drastically.

We walked throughout the store for a while, and everything was still going great. We got to the check out and nobody had misgendered me. Yet. When we were leaving the store, the cashier said something that turned my whole entire world upside-down.

“Have a good day ladies.”

I never knew how much 5 words could hurt. It felt like I had just been stabbed through the heart and punched in my gut 50 times. I felt sick to my stomach. Not because it disgusted me, no, but because I thought I looked like a male. Those few words sent my whole world crumbling. I looked to my mom and my sister to help me out, yet they unfortunately did not. I don’t know if they heard it or not. It’d hurt if they did hear and just decided to not say anything. 

The rest of the day was painful. That situation stuck in my head forever. After that, I pretended to be okay. I was in the car, acting like everything was fine, yet the dark depression grew inside of me. Once we got home, I got in my bed and laid there for a while. So many thoughts and questions raced through my mind. Why did she say ladies? Don’t I look like a boy? Should I have corrected her? What would anyone else do? Am I a chicken for not saying anything

Where did I go wrong?

I thought I looked like a boy, so where did I go wrong? This is when I started to be extremely dysphoric about my chest. I would constantly look down and see what it looks like, fix my hoodie, and cross my arms over my chest. But this still didn’t stop the misgendering. It continued, and the hurt continued as well.

Sometimes people will reassure me that I look like a boy, but my problem is that I worry too much about what other people see. They didn’t see a boy, how come everyone close to me did? This led me to believe that people started lying to me just to get me to shut up about it. I felt trapped at this point. Like nobody wanted to tell me the truth. 

At this time, I became distant from people. I tried not to speak to anyone and I tried not to draw any kind of attention to myself. It was a fairly dark time for me. I had just gotten out of the mental hospital a while ago, and I was feeling better. But after that incident, I felt like absolute crap. Nothing made me feel better.

A little while after that incident, I did start to feel better. Because I told my sister and she reassured me that she actually didn’t hear, but the next time, she will help me. She also reminded me that I have to sometimes advocate for myself when she doesn’t hear. That’s when things started to take a turn for the better. I started to speak up for myself and correct people.

So, to my sister, I love you. I love you for loving me as who I am, and for motivating me when I can’t. I’m truly grateful, and I couldn’t have asked for a better sister.

You can read Healthline‘s article Misgendering: What Is It and Why It Harmful? here!

Also please check out some of Turning Point CT’s resources for LGBTQIA+ youth under our Support by Topic 🙂