Guest post: Misgendering as validation

Originally a comment by Sastra on Your instructions.

Beth Clarkson #1 wrote:

Why are people so traumatized by misgendering?

I can grant that the transgender are indeed traumatized, but not that this is the natural outcome of Dysphoria, or of “feeling like your insides don’t match your outsides.” What might normally be expected when referred to as a “she” instead of “he” is a sense of sadness, or mild frustration. What occurs instead seems to be something akin to a panic attack, or perhaps the sort of outrage someone might feel encountering a bully kicking their grandmother.

That’s culture, I think. It’s a socially-induced reaction following a template of expectations, and in extreme forms close to what’s been called “social media induced psychosis” — “ a connection … between the gradual development and exacerbation of psychotic symptoms, including delusions, anxiety, confusion and intensified use of computer communications.” It started percolating on corners of the internet like Tumblr and Deviant Art. Now it’s gone mainstream, through the schools, a kind of feedback loop between those who react to being misgendered (or the thought of being misgendered) and those who respond with concern (or the facsimile of concern.)

The more traumatized you are, the more obvious it is that you really, really are trans. Preferred pronouns may not be as validating as the unpreferred kind.

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