A Trans-teen’s Story: Respecting the Pronoun

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When I was born, the doctor dictated the way I would live the rest of my life simply by proclaiming “It’s a girl” to my excited and tired parents. Those four words would determine which pronouns people addressed me by, the social standards I would be expected to live up to, how I would be expected to dress, and which bathroom I’d be expected use, among many other things – until 16 years later when I would come out to friends and some of my family as trans* non-binary (See Glossary).

For 16 years my family addressed me as daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and my friends used she/her pronouns when speaking to or about me. By coming out as trans* non-binary, I’m expecting that these people not only accept me -- my gender identity -- but also change 16 years’ worth of habits.

Besides the long process of coming out, explaining to friends and family who I truly am and, in some instances, defending that there are many other struggles that I, along with many other trans* folks, experience on a day-to-day basis. Which restroom will I use if a gender-neutral option is not available? How will I respond if someone misgenders me? What will I do if someone uses an offensive slur regarding my androgyny or my sexuality? These are a few situations that make day-to-day life as a trans* person generally more difficult and uncomfortable. 

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