Nametags, Pronouns, and Lifting the Burden

It Doesn't Have to Be This Way

Wintertime, about a week before I was to begin physical transition, I was at a Quaker retreat. At this point in time, folks who didn’t know me consistently and incorrectly presumed I was a cisgender woman, much to my dismay. This is a product of our cis-normative society, cis-normative meaning that everyone is presumed to be cisgender until proven otherwise, and those of us who fall outside the norm are left with the burden of claiming our existence (which is one of the themes of my writings here).

I was particularly cognizant of this burden when we were doing introductions at the beginning of the retreat. We stood in a circle, taking turns saying our names and where we were from. I had to make a choice. Even though the name I use is typically a male name (according to cis-normative standards), this never seemed to tip anyone off. This was early enough…

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