If I’ve worked with you for 6 years and you change your pronouns 6 months ago, I’m guaranteed to…

It’s true, mistakes will happen! I think the key questions are:

  1. are you clearly making an effort,
  2. when you slip up, do you apologize (but quickly, without making it all about you and your heroic efforts gone awry), and
  3. do you take ownership — adopting the attitude that this is something you need to learn, rather than a burdensome problem being imposed upon you?

If you’re 3/3 — and it sounds like you are — then no worries.

Although I do think it’s worth noting that the “premarriage name/postmarriage name” comparison is imperfect, since many people who change their names for marriage are completely fine with references to their previous name (myself included). By contrast, deadnaming — calling someone by their former name that’s misaligned with their gender — can be very hurtful and upsetting for those on the receiving end, so it’s not something that can necessarily be shrugged off no matter how well-intentioned the perpetrator might be.

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