Mispronouning, gender therapy, and the fallout. (extreme trigger warning)

Quite a few people come to us to discuss the validity of our identity, that in itself would be fine, however the manner of approach is not.

“I respect you as a woman but……….” do you see the problems there? let me break it down for those who failed to grasp the issues.

Problem 1, but………. , this is fairly simple really, if you respect somebody as who they are would you really need to add the but?, let’s rephrase it a little, “I respect you as a human being but…….” How about “I respect your opinion but……..,” try “I respect you as not a complete asshole but………” Now once more with feeling do you respect my identity or not? adding a proviso to respecting my identity just shows me you have about as much respect for my identity as is convenient for you at the time, it tells me your respect for me is worth precisely jack shit.

Problem 2. If you respect me as a woman why would you need to validate it in such a way? would you go up to a white hetero non trans individual and say “I respect you as a white hetero non transsexual”? didn’t think so, why not? because if you respect a person then you don’t just play lip service to respect, you respect a person in your actions. So we reach my problem, in many communities the but mentioned earlier is added , “I respect you as a woman but you are not a woman” being the usual one . So you respect my identity yet you are now going to completely invalidate it? So respectful. Here’s the kicker though, did you know when you say those words to a trans woman, or tell  a trans man you are not a man you are not the first person to tell them that?

It is standard practice in the gender clinics to remind all trans women of this fact throughout the process, because believe it or not, despite whatever you may have been told gender transition is an actively discouraged practice within the NHS.

Transition takes usually a minimum of half a decade, during that time do you assume we are helped? no, what happens during that time is all the indoctrination of a childhood, all the misoginy, all the bullshit, neatly compressed into 5 years. During transition you don’t get forced into present day gender roles, you get pushed back into roles better suited to the 1940s. Dress adrogyne, refused treatment, dress too masculine, rejected, dress like any other woman on the street and you’ll be told you’re not even trying.

Ever been refused medical care because your eyebrows weren’t waxed? I have, have you ever had a medical professional laughing behind your back as you walk away from hospital? How about having your records actively lost for over a year?

Oh also did I forget to mention the NHS have an additional requirement before hormones? a period of time living full time in role, that means going out every single day presenting as best you can as the gender you are transitioning to.

While this gender roles bootcamp is ongoing people outside the medical system decide to attempt DIY reparative therapy, corrective rape, assault, being spat on, cursed at, and publicly humiliated are day to day routine if you do not pass, and believe me no matter how good you are those first few months you will not pass.

Over recent years I have been assaulted over 30 times, had a knife shoved in my face twice, being sexually assaulted more times than I care to count , and being raped twice. After the second assault I couldn’t even go to the police again, I was crossexamined by a male officer after a sexual assault, who repeatedly mispronouned me, made it clear it was all my fault, and did fuck all to find my attacker.

My dentist is now advising me my jaw may need surgical correction for the sheer number of hits it has taken, it cracks every time it moves. All these attacks have one common factor, they all start with somebody guessing my birth sex, when you deliberately or accidentally use the wrong pronoun it isn’t big, clever, or harmless.

Those 5 little words are like a cork in a bottle of trauma, every time they are said all that pain, all those memories, all the nightmares spill out. I’m pinned again while that maniac holds a knife to my face and mutters how he thinks I’d like it if he cut it off then raped the wound. I’m back in the park, alone where I was ditched by people who used to be my friends, when they found out about my transition used those 5 little words. I’m surrounded again by 5 grown men all the other people around just walking by looking away, none of them will stick their neck out for me because “you are not a woman” Those words to a trans woman are trauma incarnate. Still think mispronouning does no harm?

If so go back read again and think about it a little, then come back and talk to me I’ll be happy to do so in a respectful and polite manner, however if you mispronoun me I reserve the right to be pissed off.


  1. Haela said,

    June 3, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    You seem like a woman that is stronger than I will ever be. A lot of beauty, truth, power and courage in these words. Xx

  2. June 3, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    really I just needed to vent, glad my words reached folks.

  3. June 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    and no need to knock yourself down, you are stronger than you think .

  4. June 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you for writing this, I have been hoping to transition and even had my first consultation at the gender clinic.I was rather disheartened by the process and have been debating whether to proceed. The thought of having to attend work before hormone treatment had begun, to help the process of looking more feminine.Then having to wait two years before they put you on the full course of hormone treatment, I realized that they are not really trying to help me become the woman I should have been, if it had not been for the misfortune to be born in the wrong body.
    My deep heart felt sympathies for what you have endured and my admiration for your strength & courage to carry on and become the woman that you truly are.

    Stephanie Monroe

    • June 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      Stephanie don’t give up hope oer lose heart, if I was asked would I do it all again I would do it in a heartbeat. I know who I am and if I guessed right so do you, so good luck on your journey.

    • June 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      if you ever need aqny help by the way ask for me at lauras playground, I’ll be happy to help

  5. A Friend said,

    June 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Strong words, they capture exactly how it is; people never (want to) realise it when they deny a trans person their identity. “But think about the poor, innocent straight men that will get turned gay by these horrible trannies!”… did they ever thought about the poor innocent t-girls who got assaulted, raped, harassed and murdered? Every 1 in 3 transsexuals won’t survive transitioning because of murder or suicide. ONE IN THREE! Should we be grateful for surviving it now Aura? I know I am, but I also know I hate a lot of people for even putting me through all of this in the first place. Sometimes I wonder why secondary trans women (you know, the ones who “find out” at age 40 instead of getting born with it like you and me) even transition at all, if they experience the same violence? It would be trading in gender dysphoria disorder with PTSD, is that worth it at that age, when you will never pass? Yeah, maybe we should be lucky Aura; we survived, we became passable, we made it, for now.

    • June 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Oh not giving up far from it, but will continue being Stephanie whether I transition or not

      My Website http://stephaniedreamgurl.com/

    • Anthony said,

      June 27, 2012 at 2:42 am

      that, I think all toilets sluhod be unisex. I regularly use the toilet labelled gents’ if I know it’s just one cubicle and there is a queue for the ladies. (But I wouldn’t use one that I knew had urinals I think your average guy would feel uncomfortable if I did.)

  6. June 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    The way IK see it those people earn my respect, I know a very few late transitioners still pass, so still recieve passing priviliege, but I amj not a believer in primary and secondary transsexuality, I just believe those who get characterised as secondary transsexuals are trans just the same, but were unfortunate and buried it deeper. Transitioning at all takes courage or getting pissed off enough not to take the worlds bullshit anymore.

  7. June 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Yes I am a late starter I am 51 and came out at the age of 49 to my family. I have always felt different from an early age and never felt comfortable living as a guy. So The urge to dress has always been there on and off since the age of 7. But my desire to live as a woman has got stronger with each passing year. I finally accepted this back in December 2009 and have been happier for it. I have been on a bit of a roller coaster since but do not regret it for one minute. Being out dressed as a woman just felt so natural and right. I am luckier than most that I don’t have to much of a masculine face and body. I am not to bothered if I pass or not as long as I dress nicely and I am respectful while out. I have got used to the strange looks and the giggles behind my back. If people have a problem with me dressed as a woman then it’s there problem not mine. I have been fortunate that I have not encountered anything nasty and received more compliments than anything negative so far. But I am ever mindful that a day may come when my luck might run out. I would be happy if I could be put on the hormone treatment to help make me more feminine and if i did have the operation then it would be cosmetic rather than for sex reasons. So do i possibly suffer being ridiculed, shunned harassed and victimized at work and possibly hounded out of a job. With the job situation as it is, would I be able to find employment elsewhere. It’s hard enough getting a job as it is and would be even harder being Transgender. So reluctantly I have decided not to press a head at least for the time being. My situation may change and may be one day my dream will come to fruition.

    • Adeola said,

      June 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      Helen,I have always ameirdd you from afar in the sense that I admire anyone who tries to mainstream gender issues for public consumption. I watched the track but I was not able to get the audio for some reason. I guess that Chrissie has the right to choose, but from the pictures that were shown she may have left some collateral damage. I don’t mean to seem incorrect but what do you say to a real woman who has born your child when you decide to mimic her? This is actually pretty common in the TGverse, and there is always a persuasive rational. One thing to be known about us TG type’s ..we be very self-serving AND very clever!I have not read your books Helen, but being the Betty of my own life and having dealt with a very insightful woman through it all I think that you may be a bit naive. My advice and consul is free.

  8. June 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    don’t give up, things are on the change for the better, albeit gradual, closeting yourself will never help hun trust me , I’ve seen way too many lives lost to hiding in these 27 years of life.

    • June 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      Will never give up whether I transition or not, I will live as a woman


      • June 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm

        that’s the spirit, never let the world beat you down sis.

  9. June 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Will never give up, will live my life as a woman whether I transition or not but will do it under my terms.
    My website http://www.stephaniedreamgurl.com

  10. A Friend said,

    June 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Hmm, theories and believes in them differ from person to person. I would never put a secondary trans person aside as “in you it’s a choice, so it’s your own fault” (I’ve heared someone say that to a trans woman once, aweful), I hope that is clear. The problems trans people face are still extreme, even if the origins are different: bullies don’t care if you’re born with it, have a mid-life crisis, are an fetish-obsessed transvestite or simply delusional; they will hurt you whatever the reason. And that’s what it’s all about: making people stop being pricks and preventing them from messing up lives. I am surprised about your words through Stephanie, I’m wondering why young t-girls (like Aura and me) had to deal with so much violence and you didn’t. Maybe because of the “that homo tricked me into letting me think he’s a fuckable chick”-effect? Maybe being older works as some sort of protection? I can only guess…

  11. Souvik said,

    June 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    By 1 October, 2008 – 19:50I’ve been talking to one of our siabatacbl officers today, and some of the other executives, and thankfully they are rather more open-minded than other students I’ve spoken to (post about those coming up shortly) all but one of the officers I’ve spoken to have explicitly told me that they believe degendering the toilets was a good move, but there is all manner of offensive comments going on on my SU forums and on the buses around here.I’m back in Manchester this evening and on my way home from the coach station, found myself sitting behind a couple of girls swearing blind that they’re not going to use the toilets at the SU until it’s sorted out. Fair enough I say, shorter queues for the rest of us.I just wish more people were as open-minded as, well, most of my friends.

  12. Feminist Rag said,

    July 16, 2012 at 3:42 am

    It is heartbreaking & horrendous what you’ve been through. Thank you for sharing and educating. The trans journey is not an easy one in this unforgiving culture. I wish you much peace, respect, safety and happiness.

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