Did you have to misgender yourself in order to receive help or belief as a survivor?

I want to thank you for partnering with male survivor to talk about this and bring thought provoking questions to us. I wish the best for the success of your documentary.

My initial response was going to be 'no', because it's never been that direct. Perhaps there is an undercurrent in the faith community, support system, and circle of family and friends that I have. I feel like I have to identify as cis male in order to keep my therapist (faith based), family and other support that I have. There is a fear of losing all of it that keeps my thoughts inside. I really do think I am the wrong gender, I often think I have a female brain, should have been born female, constantly desire for my body to be female. Very few people in my circle(s) know that I am a survivor of CSA. There is a sense that the CSA is used to invalidate my feelings of being transgender. "Well, he treated you like a girl.", "you rejected masculinity because of the abuse", or "somehow since you saw your stepdad (perp) being loving to Mommy then you though he would love you if you were like Mommy."

Despite that I have memories of wanting to be a girl prior to the abuse. Maybe I was a feminine acting boy and it made my stepdad disgusted. I'm not sure; him and my mother passed on about 10 years ago.
 

suchacleverboy

New Registrant
I also want to thank you for starting this project! I have always felt like the trans* experience of abuse is very complicated, and it is so easy to feel out of place even in safe spaces like this where things still tend to be more tailored to cis experiences.

From a trans man's perspective, my answer is "sort of, I guess...?" Despite having always presented as masculine and using a male name, my abusers did the misgendering for me and never really gave me the chance to correct them or stand up for myself. (Although I didn't exactly have the confidence to be insistent about my own identity, being raised by a disapproving narcissist and generally conservative family.) I was basically silenced and objectified; it didn't matter that I was doing everything I could to present as masculine.
Sometimes, I wonder if I wasn't actually just a fetish for these people (hence blurring the gender line on purpose from their perspective) and too young/naive to put two and two together while enduring the abuse: granted, I was 19, but a naive 19 year old.

At first, I felt like I had to accept being misgendered when getting help, but I never had an experience where I thought coming out to a therapist would have caused a bad reaction - I often talked in very gender-neutral language when describing my trauma, and I think the professionals caught on (in addition to the obvious signs in my appearance) and were careful not to gender me at all until I directly said "I identify as male."

Where the misgendering was forced ended up being in situations trying to find support from friends or, well, my mother. I rarely spoke about my abuse, but if I ever did, I would have to bite my lip and accept the misgendering in order for the conversation not to immediately shift to there being something messed up about me instead of about my experience.

I hope there was something useful in that little rant, I hope the documentary is a success!
 

RobbieJoe

Registrant
I also want to thank you for starting this project! I have always felt like the trans* experience of abuse is very complicated, and it is so easy to feel out of place even in safe spaces like this where things still tend to be more tailored to cis experiences.

From a trans man's perspective, my answer is "sort of, I guess...?" Despite having always presented as masculine and using a male name, my abusers did the misgendering for me and never really gave me the chance to correct them or stand up for myself. (Although I didn't exactly have the confidence to be insistent about my own identity, being raised by a disapproving narcissist and generally conservative family.) I was basically silenced and objectified; it didn't matter that I was doing everything I could to present as masculine.
Sometimes, I wonder if I wasn't actually just a fetish for these people (hence blurring the gender line on purpose from their perspective) and too young/naive to put two and two together while enduring the abuse: granted, I was 19, but a naive 19 year old.

At first, I felt like I had to accept being misgendered when getting help, but I never had an experience where I thought coming out to a therapist would have caused a bad reaction - I often talked in very gender-neutral language when describing my trauma, and I think the professionals caught on (in addition to the obvious signs in my appearance) and were careful not to gender me at all until I directly said "I identify as male."

Where the misgendering was forced ended up being in situations trying to find support from friends or, well, my mother. I rarely spoke about my abuse, but if I ever did, I would have to bite my lip and accept the misgendering in order for the conversation not to immediately shift to there being something messed up about me instead of about my experience.

I hope there was something useful in that little rant, I hope the documentary is a success!

My perp/father coerced, or forced, me to pretend to like being a girl, in private with him. The consequences of not "going with the program" were severe; he was a monster on his bad days, often resulting in my getting beaten physically, usually on some made up charge, or minor infraction.
Then on his good days, or when he wanted a piece, he could be very lovingly manipulative. I went along with it at a very early age. I wanted my father's approval. I wanted to be loved, and this was the only way I could identify with it, to be effeminate, coy, even teasing. I became "his girl" when I saw "the look". A part of me hated what was happening, but I had cover it up, and act like I enjoyed the role play and his transgressions.
I better stop at this point.
 

RgkBadger

Registrant
With the triage nurse at the ER, I had to absolutely misgender myself in order to get access to any care (emergency contraception was my chief priority). And even then, I was treated like crap by that RN before I was ultimately seen by an ER doc who respected my gender. The ER doc was the one who got me access to the forensic nurse who was amazing.
 
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