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✡️ Josh Shahryar ☪️ @JShahryar
, 40 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
So Twitter today - after a long time of us begging them - decided to make misgendering and deadnaming trans people as a ban-able offense. This story has personally affected me many times, but I'll give you a couple of stories to ponder its impact. pinknews.co.uk/2018/11/23/twi…
Some definitions:

Misgendering: The act of calling someone by the gender that they don't identify with. For instance, calling a male by "she/her/hers", when their pronoun is clearly "he/him/his". Btw, Twitter's ban is for "INTENTIONAL" misgendering it seems. Not accidental.
Deadnaming: Many trans people choose to change their names at some point in life that matches their gender. Can be before, during, or after transition or even before that. Deadnaming is calling them by their previous name that they don't want to be called by.
A lot of headlines are talking about how people are "divided" by this. Actually, people aren't divided by those who agree with this and those who don't. They are divided between those who hate trans people, their identity, and their existence and those who don't.
Anywho, one of the "arguments" presented to defend transphobes (that's people who hate Transgender people) is that deadnaming and misgendering - even intentionally - isn't just free speech, but it's harmless and entirely benign. The truth is, they aren't. And transphobes know it.
Earlier this year, I met a guy named Mark*. Mark was a guy, except he was born in the wrong body. He was fully conscious of it and was looking to transition. They'd already started to dress and present as male and wanted to be identified with male pronouns.

*Not his real name.
Mark was in his early 20s. We hung out a few times (Less than 5 times), mostly at my place, playing with my dogs, watching movies, talking about life. We were intimate a couple of times, but we're both poly and he was seeing someone already. We weren't gonna date.
P.S. When I said "looking to transition", I meant they had already started to transition.

Anyway, we stayed in touch, texting every week or so and such, but we were never "close" despite the fact that I tried to be closer to them because of their circumstance.
Mark moved to Cali in 2017 sometime in the summer from the midwest. He only has a distant aunt living here. No friends, no other relatives, no connections. Desperately poor and just with a high school diploma, they couldn't afford the Bay so ended up here. Why?
Well, because people would not stop misgendering him. Despite the fact that he wore a 4x4 inch card on his shirts over his left pocket that said, "My pronouns are HE/HIM/HIS". It was removable and he took it off and put it on every. single. time. he changed clothes.
People wouldn't stop misgendering him at work. They wouldn't stop misgendering him when he hung out with others. And worse, they wouldn't stop misgendering him at home. Oh and of course people who knew him, refused to call him Mark and kept calling him by his dead name.
How bad was the impact? Mark wasn't able to function basically. He couldn't work so he could pay for his physical transition because going to work meant constant misgendering and deadnaming. He couldn't hang out with people he knew outside the house for the same reason. And...
And he wasn't even safe from misgendering and deadnaming at home. People couldn't legal stop Mark from transitioning. They also knew they couldn't do it physically. So they took the third route: Deny his existence. To them, he wasn't Mark. He wasn't he. Imagine that's your life.
Imagine if people decided to call you by a name you hate being called and pronouns you don't identify with. Everyone. Even after you told them what your name was and what your pronouns were - even stitched them to your shirt. Every day. He never told me the story at once.
So he left home. Traveled half the country. Ended up here in Sacramento. It's not the most liberal place in California, but sure beats the hell out of the most liberal places in the Midwest. He had very little money. He had to work all the time. Be on anti-depressants of course..
The only joy he had in life was singing and making music, but he was very shy about it and I never actually got to hear him sing or play the guitar for me. Yet, even here... people now and then, kept misgendering him. He told me bits here pieces there on our hang outs and texts.
Never at once. His face would turn and he would look like he'd burst into tears. I didn't want to ask unless he told me, but I listened. I always made sure I listened. I didn't know how many other people he had who listened to him because I wasn't sure, but I soon found out.
It was summer. Just two weeks before my mom died of cancer. I got a call from a strange number. The one with repeating numbers you know belongs to an organization or business. I don't pick up strange numbers, but I had a weird feeling. So I did. It was the hospital.
As soon as they told me, I thought something had happened to my mom. She was really sick by then. The nurse calmly said, "Hi. This is Josh, right? I don't want you to freak out because everything is ok, but your friend Mark is here and if you'd like to come see him you can."
I was at school. Luckily, the hospital was near my home - walking distance actually. I asked them - rather begged them what had happened, but they wouldn't tell me. I asked to speak to Mark, they said I couldn't. So I made my way there as soon as I could.
I went to the hospital. Mark was laying in bed, smiling, like he always does. I'd bought him fig newtons which is pretty much all he ever eats.

"What happened?"

"I tired to kill myself."

"Oh god, I'm sorry. What happened?"

"Someone misgendered me at work."

Yeah.
I sat down. I think that was the first time it really hit me just how bad. Till then, I knew somewhat, but I wasn't totally aware of how bad. I held his hand and told him I was here and I was there for as long as he wanted me, when he wanted me, etc.
"Yeah, thanks," I think he said.

I asked him when it happened. Three days ago. Someone at work just casually misgendered him. He was heartbroken. Went home. Took lots of pills. Then before passing out, thankfully called 911 because he wanted to keep fighting. For himself.
I asked him if it was okay if I stayed for a little bit. "Sure,". Of course, I said, I didn't want to stay too long since his friends or family would be here and I wanted to give them privacy. "Yeah, no one's coming."

You mean today?

"You're the first person who showed up."
You mean TODAY?

"No, the past three days," he tried to make it sound very casual. Yeah, he'd just tried to kill himself. Been a the hospital for three days. And the only person he had to come see him was a guy he'd only hung out with a few times and didn't know the last name of.
What made a young kid move 1,500 miles from home, to a new city to live far away from all his family, all his friends and kin? Misgendering and deadnaming.

What made him try to kill himself in the new place just as he was trying to build a new home? Misgendering and deadnaming.
I wanted to cry very hard. But I didn't. I sat there for a little bit. I asked him if anyone from his family was even gonna try to come. He told me his mom was going to come down in a couple of days. They were transferring him to a psych facility in a couple of days. She had to.
And his mom finally came. She finally relented. It literally took him trying to kill himself till she would use his pronouns. I had to text her when he was in the psych ward. I cried when I saw her change.
Max is not alone. A couple of months ago, I used my social media clout to help fundraise for another kid - he is 19 - and his friend who is the same age. Both of them trans. Both refugees from states in the South or Midwest. Both here to start existing.
They two had the same problem. Not just the physical violence or threat of it - they just like max physically not imposing. Max is 5'3", this guy is 5'1", I think. They were tired of people intentionally misgendering and deadnaming them to deny their existence so they'd give up.
Jaime* and his friend moved to his grandma's place just for a few weeks till they could find a job and start their lives. She was virulently transphobic and made them so sick that they stopped leaving the rooms. He told me he was on the verge of suicide.

*again not real name
I suggested he start a gofundme, which he did. And I think I hadn't begged people so hard for money when I almost became unhoused. Luckily, his friends and I and people here on Twitter managed to raise enough money for them to at least have SOME security (was like $800).
That gave them a chance. And they were able to manage to get a start here. Instead of giving up. Because despite leaving everything they held dear behind, misgendering and deadnaming wasn't letting them exist. That's basically all deadnaming and misgendering is. Erasure.
And intentional misgendering and deadnaming is all about weaponizing words to deny people's existence until they physically stop existing. Jamie, his friend and Mark aren't the only trans kids I know who are fighting for their lives every day despite relentless verbal assault.
Imagine: all these kids - and I say kids because as someone in my mid 30s looking back, I know how innocent and fragile people are when they are only a few years remove from adulthood -, being strong enough to dream about living in a world this fucking cruel.
How big of a coward do you have to be to intentionally and repeatedly - not by mistake, not because of a lapse of memory - weaponize words against kids. KNOWING that it can end their life. Knowing that you could save a life if you just dropped an S or added one to a pronoun.
And don't come at me with "Can be a mistake" and "Lapse in memory". I'm non-binary. My pronouns are They/Them/Theirs. You know the first thing I said when I came out to everyone? "It's okay if you don't get it right. Or forget. I'll gently correct you." That's not what this is.
The rules came into effect because certain very high-profile individuals on Twitter such as the now banned Meghan Murphy spent their days doing nothing but calling rans women men and trans men women, misgendering them and deadnaming them. Repeatedly. Almost professionally.
i'm ready. Every day. For a phone call from a hospital, telling me that another young trans person who has escaped discrimination, intimidation and violence in the South or Midwest tried to kill themselves because they got intentionally misgendered. Always.
But I'm also always ready to fight for them with. Ready to report every intentional misgendering fuck to get them banned off here so there's at least SOME place SOMEWHERE trans folks can feel safe, protected and heard. Or at the very least, exist.

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