Jas, thanks for reading and noting that something was not clear. I left out a word. I meant to write “ignore gender presentation”.

Yes, I am saying that the cis-world is not going to think past their first impression. That is, if someone looks like a women they will react to him/her as a women initially. If they look like a man, they will react to them assuming they are a man. Every encounter with everyone is not going to begin with a question about one’s gender. Gender might not be binary, but it is extremely bimodal.

Whether the author thinks it is bad behaviour to say “excuse me sir,, you dropped your wallet” to someone who looks like a man at first glance is bad behaviour is a matter of opinion. I am just pointing out that it is not likely to change and perhaps, rather than get angry that the cis-world doesn’t bend to the will of the author, another way of coping might be better. To say, “hay you, you dropped your wallet” to avoid a gendered statement would be rude.

I have many trans friends, some of who will never present as the gender they are. They wish they could, but don’t feel offended or that someone means to hurt them when they are misgendered. Calling someone transphobic is offensive to most people and not likely to garner sympathy. In fact, it will probably cause a backlash and make matters worse.

Some of my friends make a real effort to present as they are, others make little effort. Some transwomen friends have feminine mannerisms and a touch of makeup. They look effeminate gay, but if asked will say they are a woman. What is the +99% supposed to do, ignore gender in every women they encounter so as not to offend this trans-women, who frankly presents more as a man than as a women? Should she feel offended and angry when people misgender her unintentionally?

From the headshot alone of Riley Black, I can see how she might be misgendered if she isn’t wearing makeup. That doesn’t make a person transphobic. And, calling people out for getting it wrong produces more of your category three individuals in the long run.

One close transwoman friend I was with was asked by the checkout girl, “sir, will it be cash or charge”, to which she responded, “Darling, my cup size is bigger than yours. Here is my card”, while smiling and giving her a wink. The young girl turned bright red. Sure, my friend wishes this didn’t happen, but she is not angry at the world and thinking the check out girl is a bad person who needs to be scolded. Maybe the checkout girl learned to look closer before using gendered language.

I didn’t say anyone has to be polite first. We should all be polite always, except when the politeness isn’t returned. In fact, event in the face of extreme rudeness, continuing to be polite often works better than returning the rudeness.

Also, I did not say, nor do I believe, that correcting someone is rude. Of course, intentionally misgendering someone is rude, but that’s a different matter.

Your three categories seem spot on to me too. There is one more category - the totally clueless. The ones who don’t even know what trans is and just react to what’s in front of them without a thought. And, I would add TERFs to your last category. The percentages I am referring to is cis vs trans though, so it includes all groups of cis people as more than 99 percent of the population.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store