Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
GigaVamp
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Location: Idaho

Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby GigaVamp » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:33 am

I have come out as trans to a few friends, mostly all supportive, but I have a friend who seems to not care about any of that. When I asked said friend to refer to me as my new name, they responded with "I'm probably going to keep calling you [Old name], I don't think I'll be able to remember your new one.". Which I know I can just remind them or explain why I'd rather them not, but the fact that they just shut me down really hurt and shows me that they don't want to try. I have the same problem with people who I come out to, and they simply refuse to acknowledge my wishes and don't bother to listen when I remind them. The main problem I have is that I don't want to be rude to people, which may be part of my problem, but thats why I'm posting here, to get advise! Thanks for any helping comments, it's much appretiated!

Heather
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Re: Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby Heather » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:52 am

I'm sorry that your friend is acting like this.

I don't think you need to worry about being rude to people. It's not rude to ask people to gender you properly and to call you by the name you use. Think about something much more minor, like people who change their names when they get married: no one suggests they're rude for asking people to use their new names based on their wanted identities.

I think you have a couple choices here:
1) You can choose not to stay in close contact with people who don't honor your asks and wishes. In fact, you may find that this is one way you find out who is really going to be a good fit for you in your life right now. Non-supportive friends really aren't good friends at all, so it may be it's time to do a little bit of culling in your social group, weeding out some folks who are showing you they're just not going to be supportive.
2) You can be honest about your feelings -- like telling this friend their response hurts -- and then just keep asking again, calmly and clearly. For example, a response I don't feel is at all rude to your friend here might be, "If it takes you a while to get into the habit, that's okay, but it is hurtful to me that you seem to be saying you aren't going to even try very hard. Being called the right name and having the right pronouns used really matters to me, and I expect my friends to care about my biggest feelings and needs. Can you try, please? It really isn't that hard."
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

GigaVamp
not a newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:58 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall
My primary language: English, Russian
My pronouns: She/Her
My sexual identity and orientation: Panromantic/Demisexual
Location: Idaho

Re: Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby GigaVamp » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:04 pm

Thanks your your tips! I talked to my friend about it and they agreed to try as long as I help remind them, and sorry for not responding for a few days, I've been way to busy with school. If it wouldn't be to much of a bother, I have something else I would like help with. I believe I am ready to come out as trans to my mom, I don't think her reaction will be to severe, but I am weary that she may not take it well, which I know, I problably shouldn't if thats how I feel but I feel its a necessity that I come out. What would be the most neutral way to approach it, and maybe some ways to calm her if she overreacts? I'm really anxtious about it, so I apoligize if I'm asking questions with obvious answers but I think your expirience is greatly appreciated!

Sam W
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Re: Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:05 am

Hi GigaVamp,

I'm glad to hear the talk with your friends went pretty well! As for how to come out to your mom, there's no need to apologize for asking those questions. Making that choice can feel pretty intimidating, even when you feel it's ultimately the right call, and it's great that your asking questions to help you feel more prepared for it.

As for how to approach your mom, that will depend a little on her personality and what you know about how she tends to react to things and what ways of presenting information work best with her. We actually have an article that covers coming out as trans that you might find helpful right now: Trans Summer School: Let's Bust Out of This Closet! . There are a few things you can do to make yourself feel more prepared for this conversation (which can help you feel calmer about the whole thing). One is to sit for a bit and think about what questions you think your mom is likely to have about your statement, and whether or not you want to be the one to answer all those questions or if you'd prefer to give her resources to help her learn on her own time. We even have a piece for parents on how to be supportive when someone comes out as trans, and I'd be happy to link you to that if you'd like to give it to her. Another thing to consider is if there are any particular things you want her to do as a result of you telling her you're trans. Those things could include calling you by a different name and pronouns, or helping you out with a specific situation (for instance, some people want or need their parents to help them access clothes that feel more in line with their gender). Thinking about those steps and the steps in the article, are there any that feel really difficult or intimidating to you? Or do they mostly feel doable?

GigaVamp
not a newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:58 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall
My primary language: English, Russian
My pronouns: She/Her
My sexual identity and orientation: Panromantic/Demisexual
Location: Idaho

Re: Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby GigaVamp » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:44 pm

I think everything will either go wonderful, or terrible. I'm optimistic about it though. The only thing I'm truely worried about is the barrage of questions, and that I might not be able to answer or explain them. Other than that not much is bothering me, I'm just anxious about finding a good time to do it. Thanks for the resources, I'll be sure to show her the page on parenting tips!

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6129
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Vashon Island, WA

Re: Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby Heather » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:35 am

You can certainly ask her to try not to overwhelm you with questions: you get to have limits! You might just say something like, "I am already feeling pretty nervous and overwhelmed, but you probably have a lot of questions. Can I just ask you try to ask only a couple today? We don't have to talk about this all in one sitting, and we really couldn't even if we wanted to."

It is also okay, if and when she asks you questions you don't know the answers to to say that you don't know, or don't know yet, or aren't sure. You're not obligated to know everything about being trans, about yourself, or about anything else. No one is. :)
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

GigaVamp
not a newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:58 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall
My primary language: English, Russian
My pronouns: She/Her
My sexual identity and orientation: Panromantic/Demisexual
Location: Idaho

Re: Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby GigaVamp » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:02 pm

I was planning on coming out to my family tomorrow because it's my birthday and the greatest gift would to be accepted. But some stuff happened that kinda made me want to slam the breaks on the train. My mom, her boyfriend, and I were watching football (bleh!) and on screen they were featuring one of the players shoes for some reason, they were quite expensive if I recall correctly. So as this was happening, my mom blurts out (Paraphrasing) " Oh, come on! This isn't even a man's game anymore, it's just a bunch of sissies!" She then continued to go on about it. And I made the mistake of calling her out on it. I would like to clear up that she never acts this was, and never says anything sexist so I was taken by surprise. She started calling me over sensitive and a sissy and all sorts of stuff like that. As you can probably tell by now this revelation has kinda ruined my plans to come out, but I'm thinking about doing it anyways because I fee like she 1. Already knows somethings up and is waiting. or 2. She will find out sooner or later. Am I making a bad decision?

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 4238
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I handle raptors for fun
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:15 am

Hi GigaVamp,

Ooof, that sounds like an unpleasant (and somewhat unexpected) exchange. Pumping the brakes a little bit sounds like a good call, if for no other reason that it will give you some more time to feel out how she might respond to your coming out. While it may be true that she'll find out sooner or later, you should still set the timeline of your coming out based on what feels right to you, not on trying to head off something that feels inevitable to you by telling her before you're ready. You mention feeling like she already knows something is up. Can you give me a sense of what's making you think that? Is it mostly related to the argument you had, or have you noticed other things that make you think she's realized there's something you want to tell her?

GigaVamp
not a newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:58 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall
My primary language: English, Russian
My pronouns: She/Her
My sexual identity and orientation: Panromantic/Demisexual
Location: Idaho

Re: Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby GigaVamp » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:08 am

I started growing my hair out from a mohawk, now it looks like a curly bob cut kinda, it's really curly. Also I started wearing feminine clothing here and there and wear purfume along with it. I replaced my shampoo and deoderant with ones made for women. I shave all of my body hair nearly every day, and I regularly make comments about clothes I like that are for women. And as for the strange events from a few days ago, I can't really explain why she was acting that way, but she went back to normal the next day as if it never happened so I'm willing to just forget it too. I honestly feel ready to come out to her at this point, my only true problem is that I don't know how to start it off. Tonight I was going to do it becuase she was in a great mood, and we were sitting alone in our kitchen, which seemed like a perfect time to do it but I just couldn't create a way to introduce the topic. I'm thinking of just flat out telling her, just straight to the point. Something like "Hey mom, I've got some big news for you, I'm transgender" then letting the it go from there. On saturday I'm going with one of my best friends, the one I started the thread abou, to go play a card game at a local store. It's gonna have about 30 strangers there and you get to pick what name you want to use and I'm going to use that to my advantage. I'm going to try and dress casually feminine,a cute flannel with some skinny jeans, nothing crazy. I think it will be a good way to introduce it to my mom becauce I will have my supportive friend and proof that I'm serious about being trans, not that I really need it but whatever.

Jacob
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Re: Enforcing pronouns and new name?

Unread postby Jacob » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:43 am

Hey GigaVamp!

I've just been reading through your thread it sounds like you've been making lots of small steps, stating your needs to your friends and them challenging their biases too, I hope that continues. I suppose it shows how 'coming out' isn't always a one time thing but an incrimental process.

With your choices around how you express yourself and your gender too, it's nice to hear you're more comfortable to do that and change your hair and clothes in ways that feel good to you. This is a way in which you already are expressing to your mom who you are already. That said, I totally get the fear of bad reactions when she was so aggressive & mean towards you when you challenged her, and seems to have such regressive opinions around gender.

I would say that if you feel confident enough, or on your way to feeling confident enough to hear a bad reaction then this is in itself a positive. It's a very different positive from having a lovely accepting hug from a parent who accepts your gender. I'd be so happy if that happens for you, but if not, it does get you closer to a better relationship in the future where that might be possible. It puts some of the work onto your mom to learn to understand you, and less of the work on you to tone-down your self expression.

I really want to stress that however you feel best moving forward is ok. It's ok if you want to avoid a conflict you don't feel ready for, or if it feels unsafe for you to do so. That's self-care. It's ok if you express yourself and get a bad reaction. That too is not your fault it's for those around you to work on their sexism and transphobia.

You have our support!
"In between two tall mountains there's a place they call lonesome.
Don't see why they call it lonesome.
I'm never lonesome when I go there." Connie Converse - Talkin' Like You


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