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Misgendering is a dehumanizing form of violence 

The realities of working while transgender

click to enlarge “It’s the difference between short hair and long hair.” I’m Kevin Hall. I’m MtF pre-hormones. I have short hair right now.
  • “It’s the difference between short hair and long hair.” I’m Kevin Hall. I’m MtF pre-hormones. I have short hair right now.

I’ve lost six jobs because of misgendering. I’ve spent three months homeless, two months in a shelter. Hired and fired the same day because of unattractive desperation, seeing my life end homeless as I put on a dress. Violence in North America is declining, but violence against transgendered individuals has doubled since last year.

Misgendering alienated me at places I worked, getting me fired because “It’s not working out,” putting me in vulnerable situations where just finding a friend to walk with you at night is impossible because of misgendering.  Misgendering isn’t saying the wrong pronoun by mistake. It’s not saying “What’s up, man?” It’s denying someone’s gender and accusing them of lying. It’s calling them “it,” dehumanizing “it” while you speculate on “its” gender, sexuality and personality as they lose work because, “It’s not working out.” Misgendering is dehumanizing. Dehumanizing is stripping “it” of all “its” rights. Stripping “it” of all “its” rights is violence. Misgendering is violence. The dehumanization of someone to discuss their gender on a daily basis when you don’t talk about anybody else that way, or for that long, or in that much detail only because they’re trans, to the point that they lose jobs and stray to a homeless shelter, is worse than any female-degrading dentist scandal. Sixty-nine percent of trans individuals are homeless right now, 25 percent are facing violence and 41 percent have attempted suicide because of dehumanizing misgendering.

The speculation of someone’s personality after misgendering is worse and it’s what causes the most damage. The speculation is targeting. If you’re putting that much focus and attention into someone to tear them apart, you’re just targeting and harassing them, even as that person may fight for other marginalized groups not to be harassed. They can fight to not be discriminated against or treated differently because of their gender, and then dehumanize someone by calling them “it.”

The person misgendering isn’t going to want to be wrong and that’s only going to cause the person misgendering to speculate a lot of negative bullshit rumors about a person—to dilute the transphobia and turn it into something that isn’t misgendering.

None of this gets in the news or talked about like a Rehtaeh Parsons case. But misgendering starts as targeting and singling a transgendered individual out and either costs them jobs, fucks their mental health up so much they can’t see straight, puts them in a position of homelessness, violence and poverty or causes them to commit suicide.


Voice of the City is a platform for any and all Halifax individuals to share their diverse opinions and writings. The Coast does not necessarily endorse the views of those published. Our editors reserve the right to alter submissions for clarity, length and style. Want to appear in this section? Submissions can be sent to voice@thecoast.ca.

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