Whether you have undergone transgender surgery or not, you may still get misgendered. This can be a very painful experience. In some cases, the person didn’t mean to use the wrong pronoun. However, in some cases it can be done maliciously. For many in the trans community, being misgendered is a daily occurrence. Unfortunately, we are still a long way from a society where everyone is able to grasp the concept of transitioning and the idea of transgender surgery, but there are ways to handle being misgendered.
If you’re lucky, your family will accept you as who you are and honour that by using the right pronoun to describe you. It may take some getting used to, but if they love you, they’ll make an effort. You can, however, remind your family of your gender when they mess up. For instance, if your parents accidentally introduce you as their daughter, you should correct them. Eventually, they’ll stop making mistakes.
Your friends are basically your extended family, and you should correct them if they misgender you. Like your family, they will eventually stop making mistakes. If they’ve been able to accept you (whether you’ve had transgender surgery or not), they will be able to use your correct gender pronoun.
It’s important to correct your coworkers when they misgender you. You have to work with these people regularly, and they should know what pronoun to use when referring to you. You don’t have to be rude. Just explain why misgendering is an issue and that you’re open to a discussion about it. Ideally, you will not experience discrimination in the workplace regarding your trans identity but if you do, report it to the HR department immediately.
There is the school of thought that you should let it go when it comes to strangers because you may never see them again. However, you can correct them. This is completely up to you. If you don’t correct the cashier who called you “miss,” will it bother you later? If you do correct the cashier and they say something derogatory in response, what will you do? It’s a slippery slope when a stranger misgenders you, so use your judgment and trust your gut. Sometimes a simple, “actually, it’s sir,” is all you need, and the person will recognize their mistake and apologize.
Being misgendered can hurt. It’s as if someone is telling you that they get to decide your identity by using the wrong pronoun. No matter if you have had transgender surgery or not, you are who you feel inside. Only you can determine your gender, and hopefully the world will get on board soon.