How can I get my parents and or family to use the right pronoun and name?
Last Updated: 07/14/2020 at 5:01am
Rory Boutilier, Registered Professional Counsellor
I use a human-centered approach to help you reach your goals. You are the expert on you! Particular areas: life changes, decision-making, men's issues.
Top Rated Answers
There's nothing you can do to "make" them use the correct pronoun and name, but there are ways to discourage the ones you don't want. If you get upset when they use the wrong ones, they may believe that's a sign that you're guilty about the change, or you're trying to force a change that's not real. If you can, try to be calm about it. Treat it like you would a small child who mispronounced your name, or thought you were the other gender because you wore something like their cousin of that gender wore. "I'm sorry you forgot - my name is [this] now" or "I'm [she/he] now." If they say, "you'll always be [oldname] to me," you may need to be calm and reply with something like, "I'm sorry you can't recognize who I am now." And it's rough being stuck doing that, over and over, with many people. The more you can be calm and polite about it, the more will be accepting. It's hard to pretend something is just an accidental slip instead of the likely-deliberate erasure of your identity, but it will persuade more people that this is who you really are - and it will help you be more calm about it, so that you can define your identity by who you are now, rather than who or what you used to believe you were.
This can be really challenging sometimes especially if they don't have the best understanding of your situation. If they do, horray! That makes your life a lot easier. You can possibly sit them down and have an open & honest conversation about what you need from them. Tell them what pronouns/name is the ones you need, so that way they can do that for you. If they are having a problem understanding, that can be a little trickier. I would suggest sharing some resources with them and then talking with them about it. (Here is a great resource to start you off: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/trans-gender-identity# ) Then you can chat with them and answer their questions they might have about who YOU are as a person. Be well.
I would not respond to anything other than my name and pronoun. If someone was calling me Mike (my name is Bee) I would not answer them. It's about respect
This is a really tricky situation to be in. Parents and family are especially difficult to get on board with the name and pronoun changes. Some parents are stubborn and refuse to change, but you can always correct them and stand up for yourself. If your parents are supportive of you but just use the wrong name and pronouns all the time out of habit, what they really need is time. Your parents have been used to calling you a certain name and using certain pronouns for years before you decided to finally live authentically. Try not to be mad or angry with your parents, although it's extremely frustrating, they are trying and just need time. Gentle reminders and corrections can help the process.
Explain to them that using your pronouns and name is a basic way of showing you respect. You don't call your mom George and use he/him pronouns for her just because you think that's what fits her - you use she/her and her name because that's part of her identity.
Never let a mistake go. Not in the sense of berating them about the mistake, but making sure they know to never call you by the wrong pronoun again. If you go by he/him and someone refers to you as she/her, then politely correct them. If they are willingly misgendering you and dead naming you, you need to sit them down to a serious conversation about respect and boundaries. I know how hard it is to even think about broaching that subject, but it's important to do so. If someone truly loves you, then they will try their hardest to make you feel supported and loved. Not only that, but it's important to you. You deserve to be respected and called the correct pronoun and name, and I really hope you get your loved ones to understand that. I wish you the best of luck!
Maybe if you stopped calling it "the right" pronoun and name and called it something like "the one I use" or "the one I want." When you call it "the right" one, what you are saying to them is that they are Wrong, and of course their mind is going to go in the direction of, "But I'm not wrong! That's what I've always used! That IS the right one! Kids nowadays!" If, on the other hand, you emphasize that you want them to use this name and pronoun because you care very deeply about it, you're saying that you understand their cognitive dissonance and you are asking them to accommodate your needs. It may make you a little more vulnerable than an uncompromising declaration of the absolute rightness of your position, but that can win people's sympathy.
Getting family to use the right pronouns and name at first are really hard. It took my family nearly 2 years to come round to the idea of calling me something different. Time and patients are key. Remember how hard it was for you to figure your self out and come to terms with it? Well they feel this but in a different way. They still love you
Just keep drilling it on them. Don't let them get away with it. Eventually they'll catch on. Your parents may mistake you for a sibling or other relative, but just let them know that you're your own individual person.
It can be hard for parents and family members to understand using the right pronouns and name. It is important to remember that it can be an adjustment for them and things will take time. If they refuse to use the correct name and pronouns it may help of you just don't answer when they don't do what you have asked.
Two things, number one, patience, number two repetition. Your parents and family love you, but it will take some time to make the transition to a new pronoun/name. So you will have to correct them and or remind them at times. And yea, you are probably going to have to remind them a lot. But remember, they have spent their whole lives calling you by a different pronoun/name, it will take them some time to make the switch. So the only words of wisdom I can offer are to be patient, know they love you and it is not out of malice, but out of habit that they misname. Good luck!
Remind them. Often times, even if they're very supportive, they'll still forget every now and then. And don't harp on them too much for this, I mean they used on pronoun set and name for a long time. But do remind them if it gets to be too much. Most of the time they just forget.
I've found the best way is to be up front and tell them how much being misgenered harms you. Once they realise that it might help them to understand and start using the correct terms.
I feel like its really just about communication, It's important to let them know how important it is to you that they use the correct name and pronouns. Its also important for you to remember that they have always known you as one thing at it will take a little time for them to get used to referring to you in a different way. Both you and your parents/ family need to try to talk about it openly.
I don't know about the whole family, but for your parents, I wrote my mother a letter explaining how I felt, why I wanted her to use my new name and pronouns; I told her how much it would mean to me, and I made it very clear that I would love her no matter what. I think that's incredibly important to remember. Your parents are people too, and I don't know who they are, or what they're like, but I know that they are people, with feelings of their own, thoughts of their own, needs. You can write them a letter if you think it'd work, but if it doesn't, I recommend just correcting them if they continue to misgender you, and try to show them as much love as possible. It made it very hard for my mother to be transphobic and intentionally abusive when I was consistently treating her with love and respect, no matter what she did. Hang in there bud ^^
Depeding on your family views, it can turn out more or less challenging. However, a good beginning would be to tell them how you feel when they address you properly, and how you feel when they don't. Most of the times, showing people feelings they can relate to (sadness, frustration, fear, pain) makes it easier for them to understand you. A good tip would be: tell them how YOU feel, but don't make it sound like it is their fault (even if it is). If they feel blamed, they are less likely to listen. Then just politely remind them of the pronouns and name you find right for you.
Definitely try to sit down with them and have a real discussion with them that the name and pronouns they are using now are wrong, and may offend you. If they still don't care about what you want to be called, definitely speak to someone such as a school counselor or a close friend about the situation.
Sit down and have a proper talk about what you would like to be called and why you would like the be called that. Regardless of what happens stay calm throughout and don't let quick emotions like anger ruin a long term relationship.
Help educate them in a nice and fun way. Show that you have only the best intentions in mind, and things will become a lot easier to teach. Educate by saying what the right pronoun and name is, then explain why that is more suitable than what they're used to.
Ask them! Most of the time, people just don't use the right pronouns or names because they don't know! You should just educate them.
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