Everything! Next question…
Seriously, it is inextricably linked to your self identity. It is who you are. It’s how others identify you. You see and hear it everyday. I had a number of meetings today, and while they are not the impetus for this post, what occurred on my way to the meetings that was cause for me to pause for a moment.
Going down hallways, across skywalks, atria, etc, on the way to various offices/boardrooms, I came across people that I know and we exchanged greetings as one normally would. That’s when I realized that I was never “deadnamed” (being referred to by your old, incorrect name), or misgendered. Even when it was an unexpected, sudden interaction, when sometimes I catch people off guard and they accidentally deadname me out of reflex, that didn’t happen. Proper name was used.
That tells me that people have forgotten the old me and have fully integrated the correct name, gender, etc into their internal lexicon. Their neural pathways have been updated, so to speak. Very cool!
So what’s the big deal you say? It’s a big friggin’ deal! Imagine if people were constantly calling you by the wrong name, and worse yet, a name associated with the wrong gender? How would you feel? And further, imagine if for your whole life, people were using what was your given name, but that it was, in your mind, not correct? It is a daily, constant reminder that you are not seen as your correct gender for your entire life. It is a constant, totally “in your face” reminder of your dysphoria and a major trigger for really bad thoughts. At least it was for me.
Now, that is no longer the case. Everyone is using my correct name. And you have no idea how good it is to finally have a name, and hear it used, that matches your gender. It may seem like an insignificant thing to the vast majority of people. But not for us. I am glad that the vast majority of people don’t have to go through this. It means they are gender congruent and don’t have to deal with the crippling effects of dysphoria.
But for those of us who do, it is a big deal. That’s why we very much appreciate it when people get it right and why we get our fur up when we are deadnamed. Fortunately for me, by dysphoria is at an all time low, and my happiness meter is close to topping out. And this is just another thing that helps it stay there. So thanks to everyone for getting on board.
It means everything.