I’m very lucky that being trans has not had any catastrophic effects on my life. Very lucky. However, I still deal with frequent microaggressions because I’m trans. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the stupid shit people say/do to trans people and what to do instead.
1. The Microaggression:
My family (mostly my mom) likes to tell me I’m pretty. Specifically, that I’ll never be “mistaken” for a man because “I’m too pretty.” First of all, this is ridiculous. Here’s a reminder of what I look like:
Second of all, THIS IS NOT A COMPLIMENT. Telling someone that they will never be perceived as their true gender because of their face is MESSED UP.
Don’t police people’s fucking appearances. If your son shows up to Christmas dinner with a braided beard and peonies in his hair, tell him you like that shit or keep your mouth shut.
2. The Microaggression:
I’ve had some good doctors, but many of the doctors I’ve seen have been weirdos about me being trans. There was the gynecologist who was visibly uncomfortable with my gender identity, the surgeon and therapist who thought I was insane for wanting top surgery without being a manly man, the nurse practitioner who switched my pronouns mid-way through a conversation without asking and who assumed (correctly but presumptuously) that I would be terrified of a speculum…the list goes on.
If you’re a medical provider, do some quick reading on best practices for trans people. Stick to scientific names for body parts and organs, ask for and then RESPECT people’s pronouns, and don’t make assumptions about my body or my sex life.
3. The Microaggression:
I just got Car2Go, and while I love it because it’s affordable and easy, they’ve been idiots about my gender. When asked to choose an honorific on my profile, I chose Mister, and now every single time I call them they ask me to verify my goddamned identity (beyond the standard identity verification process) because I don’t have a deep manly growl. I had one woman demand to know “if Wiley Reading was in the car.” I kept saying “YES. THAT IS ME. WILEY READING IS ME.” I’ve had my account locked because I refused to do extra verification (again, ABOVE AND BEYOND the pretty involved standard identity verification process). They eventually apologized for screwing up, which is great, but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Adjust your idea of what an acceptable “male” voice is. If you’re going to tell people to choose an honorific, believe them. Maybe be less obsessed with gender in general.
Go forth and be decent to your trans brethren and for god’s sake use the right names and pronouns.