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🤯🤡😌 Misgendering is something you might have experienced at some point in your life if you are trans or express your gender uniquely. Misgendering can be very hurtful and cause mental health issues for some. But what is misgendering, and what's so bad about it? In this wikiHow, you will learn about misgendering and what to do if you accidentally misgender someone.
Section 1 of 5:What is misgendering?
- Misgendering is the act of using the wrong pronouns for someone (intentionally or not) or assuming someone's gender based on the way they look/act. An example of misgendering would be using she/her pronouns for someone who actually uses they/them, or assuming somebody with long hair is a girl. Constant misgendering can be harmful for many reasons.
- Misgendering is common for trans and gender diverse people, but cisgender people who appear as another gender can also be misgendered.
Section 2 of 5:Why is misgendering harmful?
- It can have bad consequences for trans and gender diverse people's mental health. Constantly and intentionally misgendering or deadnaming a trans person can cause dysphoria, anxiety, distress, depression, overall sadness, and impact their ability to function in daily life due to not feeling "seen". Several studies have shown that misgendering is extremely harmful. XResearch sourceXTrustworthy SourceHarvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School's Educational Site for the PublicGo to source
Section 3 of 5:Avoiding Misgendering
- 1Always refer to someone with gender neutral terms before you get to know them. Use "they/them" and "person" to refer to somebody before you know that person's pronouns. For example, if you a stranger at the park with a dog, you could say, "The person with the red shirt is walking their dog," rather than "That lady is walking her dog."
- It will be likely be awkward for you and the other person when you called them "he" and "a guy" just because they had a buzz cut.
- 2Don't make assumptions on someone based on how they look. Simply because somebody is wearing a dress or has long hair doesn't mean they are a woman. Avoid making assumptions about someone's gender or name until you've met them.
- 3Ask for the person's pronouns when you get the chance. The best time to ask for someone's pronouns are when you introduce yourself. You should state your pronouns, along with your name, for example; "Hello! I'm Sam. My pronouns are she/her and he/him. What's your name and what pronouns do you use?"
- 4Get creative when greeting friends. Use words like "y'all" and "folks," "greetings," "everyone," or "friends," when addressing your comrades, rather than "guys" or "ladies and gentlemen" to be more inclusive.
- At all costs, avoid using phrases like "guys, gals and nonbinary pals" "girls, gays and theys" since it reduces trans and nonbinary down to gender, and not all nonbinary people use they/them.
Section 4 of 5:What to Do When You Misgender Someone
- Correct yourself, and move on. There's no need to make a scene after you've made a mistake with someone's name or pronouns. Apologize, correct yourself, and quickly move on. For example: "Jessie left his--sorry, their--bag at home this morning."
- Apologizing repeatedly or talking about how you're trying to remember your friends pronouns but you have a terrible memory and you're so, so sorry will only make it awkward for the both of you. Keep things simple and short.XResearch source
Section 5 of 5:What to Do If You've Misgendered Someone in the Past
- Bring up the situation with the person you misgendered, and apologize. Begin by going somewhere private with the person you misgendered, and bring up the time you misgendered them. Start with something like, "Hey, Maya. I'm really sorry about when I misgendered you on the party last Friday. I'll try my best not to do it again in the future. Are we still cool?" Apologizing will show that you care about them and their feelings.
- Try not to make a big deal out of this. Some people might have forgotten you misgendered them or brushed it off. Some people might remember. Either way, it's important to apologize.