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Pronouns and Transgender People

Updated on November 15, 2015

The transgender community bumps into a lot of different issues when it comes to other people accepting and acknowledging their gender identity. One that I have come into contact with lately is people using the correct pronouns when referring to the transgender person. I have identified more that this can be a really frustrating thing for transgender people, although I am not transgender myself this does bother me as well.

The incident I came across that really pushed me to write this article was an interaction I had at school. I am in a cosmetology program at a local college of mine and we recently gained a new set of students coming out of the basics program, one of which was a transgender woman. She was really nice when I first met her, in fact she was the first out of the new group to introduce herself to me. Despite her being a really friendly person I heard that the other students from the group would make fun of her a lot in their basics class, I couldn't understand why they could be so cruel. She is a really nice person and always compliments me and others even the other girls who are rude to her.

Onto the situation that came up, a few weeks had past from the first day i met her and I had asked another student to do my hair for me. This other student had been there for sometime and was not part of the group who had been rude to the transgender student. As this student was curling my hair an incident came up where she referred to the transgender student as a he instead of a she. When this happened my i got anxious, the transgender student gave me this frustrated look that to me said, "Did she really, I will kill her." It was really awkward I didn't know what to do in the situation and I am disappointed in myself that I really did nothing. I had though about politely approaching the other student and informing her of the mistake she made but in this time in my life I am still overcoming some social anxiety problems and I did not gather the courage to approach the situation.

I still wish I would of done more in the personal situation I had, I want to encourage other people to do what I wanted to do if something like that ever happens to you. Now how do you know what pronoun you should use for a transgender person, well it really simple if they identify as a women use female pronouns and if they identify as a man then use male pronouns. But what if you are not sure what gender they identify as, that is pretty simple as well, JUST ASK THEM. I find that the transgender people I know don't mind if you ask and don't get offended because they would rather you know what gender they identify as, than have you unsure and accidentally use the wrong pronouns. I think it is much more embarrassing for them to have to correct you than inform you.

Why is it so important that we use the correct pronouns? Well you can refer to the image attached to this article and see how it can make someone feel being called a he instead of she. Put yourself in their shoes, lets say your a women with a shorter hair cut and maybe you have some manly features either in your body or face and someone had accidentally called you a he instead of a she. Wouldn't you be embarrassed? Would you maybe feel less confident about your appearance? Would you be annoyed if this type of thing happened on a day to day basis? So does a transgender person. I can actually give you a great example of that actually happening, my boyfriend has longer hair so whenever we walk into a store and someone greats us and they don't get too close of a look at our faces they say, "Hello lady's!" My boyfriend is always really embarrassed by it and it annoys him, even in that situation do people apologize and correct themselves and with a transgender person in it vital to correct yourself as soon as you realize you have made a mistake.

Now to end this article I just want to say, thank you for reading. This is my first written article and I would like to say to anyone who feels I have made any grammar mistakes or spelling mistake please point them out, I enjoy constructive criticism. Also if you would like to comment any of your opinions on this topic please leave comments. If I have any transgender readers who would like to share their experience or feelings with incorrect pronouns being used please comment. I want to thank you again for reading.



© 2015 Devin McKown

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    • Michaela Osiecki profile image

      Michaela 19 months ago from USA

      As a non-binary individual who tentatively identifies as trans, I want to point out that you can also use the gender neutral 'they/them' if you're unsure of a person's gender.