What do they call him/her now?

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05/07/2012 at 23:04

Edited: 05/07/2012 at 23:05
05/07/2012 at 23:09

Try again Cinders

05/07/2012 at 23:40

Interesting post with lots of interesting comments Sorry for the long reply.

Elli, just to clarify something, a person with both male and female genitals has a condition called intersex, its different to transsexuality which is having the physical body of one gender but knowing that you are in fact the other gender.

For a transsexual its not as simple as accepting yourself and your body and getting on with it. Some transsexuals can do that, for others the pain of being in the wrong body can lead to severe distress and in many cases suicide.

When people are going through gender reassignment and are living as a female then they will prefer it if people use the correct pronouns, she, her, Miss or even simply their name. Same goes for female to male transsexuals with he, him, Sir etc.

Most transsexuals will ignore the odd slip up with pronouns because, if they have decided to go through reassignment while continuing to work at the same place that they have been, they know that people will need time to adjust to things. It tends to be more embarassing for the person that makes the slip up when they realise it. Of course its obvious that you are deliberately using the wrong pronouns, name etc. then it feels really offensive.

What she gets called by her family will depend on the particular family. Some continue to be called Dad, other families come up with another name altogether, some may even agree to them being called some variation of mum.

The toilet issue is a difficult one but there are lots of possible solutions. It also depends on the feelings of the rest of the female staff. If they are happy for her to use the ladies then it shouldn't be an issue. You're not going to want to do anything that any other female would want to do, use the toilet, tidy up hair and make-up and then get back to work. If there are objections then it could be that its agreed that she only uses the toilet when nobody else is in there and that there is a way to let other female staff know when she is in there. Alternatively, if there are toilets that are purely single occupant then it might be that she uses them. Don't forget, if she was to use the male toilets then it would be just as awkward for any men that might be using them.

At the end of the day, nobody wants to make anyone feel uncomfortable. All that's wanted is to go into work, do what your paid for, be treated with respect and dignity, and then go home to your family and friends. Basically to do what everyone else does, each and every day, but with the sense that your body and mind actually fit together properly and aren't completely at odds.

What she is doing is very hard and takes a lot of courage. It can cause immense difficulty with families and friends. Transsexuals can lose family, friends, jobs and homes when they undergo gender reassignment.

Can you imagine what its like to go out each day not knowing whether its going to be a good day and everybody will treat you as a female or whether you are going to suffer verbal abuse, physical abuse or even worse. Its not something that is done lightly.




05/07/2012 at 23:45

Well put JvR.

05/07/2012 at 23:45
King Kong, I'm old enough to have worked with at least three transgender people and on no occasion has there been any guidance given out by HR. I think to do so would simply point the finger to make sure the person had even more to deal with.
05/07/2012 at 23:53
Elli of the North wrote (see)

I'm not QUESTIONING sex changes. I'm wondering how it affects in the lives of those who see their partner/parent go through such things and why they feel the need to do it in the first place.


I.e. nowadays such operations are possible. 100 years ago they werent. Surely there would have been people who felt they had born in wrong bodies,  but those days they couldnt have said anything as the society wasnt quite accepting of things like that.  Those people would have had to just get on with it and live with what they were born with.

So I'm not saying anyone entering such operation is doing it half heartedly, I am just wondering if they see it as an option because it's possible. And because it's possible, does it make it easier to make that decision?


Its very stressful on the family and can result in a family falling apart. It can end marriages and relationships if the other person can't deal with it. In fact in the UK, even if the wife/husband in a marriage can deal with it, in order to get a gender recognition certificate, which effectively allows a transsexual to get a new birth certificate in their new gender, then the couple have to get divorced.

100 years ago people either struggled with it and managed to cope through some means or they ended up killing themselves. Someone that came out and said that they were a woman in a man's body or man in a woman's body would most likely have been thought mad.

Just because its possible through hormones and surgery to go from being male to female and vice versa doesn't make the decision any easier. Depending on where in the world you live also has an effect as in a lot of countries you wont be able to get treatment at all, in other countries you have to fund all of your treatment privately. In the UK its possible to undergo gender reassignment through the NHS but it requires jumping through a lot of hoops.

05/07/2012 at 23:57

What excellent respnses there JvR. Very helpful. Elli won't be the only one with questions.

06/07/2012 at 00:00
Vixx76 wrote (see)

Well put JvR.

Thanks Vixx. Its about the first thread that I've seen in ages that I feel strongly about.

06/07/2012 at 00:04

Thanks OW.


06/07/2012 at 00:04

At the end of the day he/she has made the decision to go through with this, and a bit of support from their work colleagues would go a long way to helping them fit in. It is the 21st century.

Live and let live.

06/07/2012 at 00:20


100 years ago people either struggled with it and managed to cope through some means or they ended up killing themselves. Someone that came out and said that they were a woman in a man's body or man in a woman's body would most likely have been thought mad.


I read an interesting book recently called Colonel Barker's Monsterous Regiment, which tells the (true) story of Valerie Arkell-Smith who spent a large proportion of her life living as a man (during post WW1 years). It is a fairly stange case as she even married a woman who claimed not to know she was not a man.

The book also describes the stories of a number of women who lived as men around similar times, including at least one who was charged with 'masquerading in male attire'. The book talks more about motives in terms of life being difficult for women and men having more freedoms, but it does make me wonder whether there were some cases where women did feel they were in the wrong body and so tried to simply live as male.

06/07/2012 at 00:27
I'm not her work colleague.
She works in the same building same office space. I don't know which department which team who she is what her name is. I see her every now and again and I know a lot of people whisper about it.
I ask the questions out loud. That's the difference. I don't judge. I wonder. I don't STRUGGLE to understand. I TRY to understand.

I struggle with a lot of personal issues myself. My self image is in pieces to express it mildly. People like her make me think of things. Acceptance. Of others and
Her own. Mental strength to be able to go through a big thing like that.

Thank you for the response.
Lot of there I already suspected but lot of new things as well.

It's 2012. This kind of subjects shouldn't really be such a taboo any more. Often people joke about things because they don't understand it.
Sometimes they joke about things because they try to
Show they accept it but don't really know how else to
Deal with it. Almost like a panicky attempt to try and not look offensive in any way.

I've gone through bullying at my workplace for the past two years. I know what it's
Like to be under a constant judgement. What makes some
People so strong that they knowingly take it on in order to to become
Who they are? And most of all, to KNOW who they are.

I'm 32 and ive no idea who i am. What I do know is that I'm naive
In believing that every person is truly good inside. Even after seeing and dealing with lot of arseholes.

I got really upset when I realised that people were taking my posts as offensive. It was never my intention. I often come across totally different
To what I mean. I don't know why this is. All I know is that it's
Draining me inside. Anyway. I'm not coming back to this thread. Thanks everyone who has made a decent comment and shared the knowledge. Like OW said I'm certainly not the only one who has ever thought of these questions.
06/07/2012 at 05:47

Elli, some people are primed to be offended. 

06/07/2012 at 06:03
06/07/2012 at 06:07
I'm in No way able to really comment but we had a colleague at work who underwent a gender realignment surgery and they said "go ahead and ask me any questions you have". . This was perhaps the most valuable thing for their colleagues because our HR department handled it so shockingly bad. It was swept under the carper because "it's their own business" and you were threatened with disciplinary action if you asked any sorts of question deemed inappropriate.

For me - it's whatever THEY want to be called/seen as is good for me
06/07/2012 at 06:42

I don't think there should be an onus on anyone to explain him/herself but agree that it can be helpful if someone is willing to do that. Suppressing all discussion often says more about the issues of the person suppressing, than the enquirer.

I think the same about racism, sexism and other unpleasant traits. Just fighting with them won't aid any empathy or comprehension and often increase their sense of indignation. Far better to change behaviour with discussion. (Obviously some violent bigots fall outside of this ideal!!)

kittenkat    pirate
06/07/2012 at 08:54
Kwilter with a K wrote (see)

Wow! Can we all say "narrow minded bigot"?

Yes, thought so. And occasionally I wonder why I don't bother looking on RW any more.

Why would it make any difference at all to you what genitals someone else has, or they choose to do with them? If you're really that curious why not ask the person?

Fucking pathetic!

edit: Open minded?? don't make me laugh!

I think this post is rude, nasty and out of order.

kittenkat    pirate
06/07/2012 at 09:13

From what I've seen from Elli as a poster thus far, I've never known her to be nasty or meaning to cause offence or cause controversy. I think this is an interesting subject that is highly emotionally charged understandably and it's good to talk about it without either being too pc or overly judgemental.

The only way to break down barriers and taboos is to ask genuine questions.

I think there is some miscommunication on this thread for various reasons and no intent to cause offence.

That's how i read it anyway.


06/07/2012 at 10:00

I have a friend who made the decision three years ago to have their gender realigned from male to female.

Previously he was extremely unhappy.  He had known since he was a child that he should have been a girl and fought aginast that for 33 years.  During those years he attempted suicide and self harm regularly as he hated himself so much.  Anybody who met him coud see that he was extemely unhappy, lacked confidence.  He never socialised and even avoided the canteen at coffee breaks.  He was attracted to women and lived with a finance and had a child with her.  She was well aware of his desire to be a women and she would often advice him on make up and encourage him to wear her clothes.

Eventually he made the decision to go ahead with the change.  Due to the nature of his work (compulsory communual showers being the main issue), each member of his department was approached and asked how they felt about it.  With the exception of one person, everyone was really supportive and were willing to treat him as a female.  He in turn was willing to wait until the others had finished in the shower before going in, and to be discrete when getting changed etc.

06/07/2012 at 10:02

I don't think the OP meant to cause offence but the first few posts were along the lines of what do her family call her/he/it and what toilets does it use which didn't really seem to me to be opening the subject up for a reasonable discussion, more of a laugh and point session.  The use of the term 'it' I found particularly unpleasant as that's a very unkind way to refer to a human being but I understand that English is not Elli's first language.

I don't think it was the topic which some people found offensive, it was the way the topic was introduced.

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