Why I Hate Talking on the Phone (#misgenderedagain)

I hate talking on the phone, especially when it has to do with anything customer service related. I know I’m not alone in this, but this morning I realized my own, most recent reason, for hating it.

I am ALWAYS misgendered over the phone. Over and over and over again.

The customer service folks are trained (and/or raised) to be polite and respectful. And so they say “Ma’am” or “Miss” again. And again. And again.

Today’s call was because I couldn’t change my bank account information with my health insurance company online. I was already nervous, hoping I would be able to accomplish this without much hassle.

And then the “ma’am’s” started.

I’ve trained myself to gently ask them, as soon as it happens, to refer to me as “Dara” and not “ma’am.” The person apologized, as they always do, and a few seconds later they forgot that I had mentioned it, which is also what they usually do.

This article is one I wrote in 2013 about this topic. It was before I realized I was nonbinary and trans. But I was definitely in the early stages of realizing it (as you’ll see when you read it).

My ask of you is to really think on this, which is from the article:

“It may seem like no big deal to those who have never had to experience what it’s like to be addressed as “ma’am” or “sir” in relation to their identity and sense of self. But for someone who is trans/nonbinary, it can be a daily ordeal.”

——-> If you comment below, feel free to ask what other alternatives there are to saying “ma’am and sir.”

But please hold back on reminding me (and other trans folks) that you were raised to use those terms and that it is a lot of work to change but you are trying…

We know it is. And we appreciate the effort.

But that puts the focus back on you, instead of the topic at hand. We then have to decide if we need to put our need to be heard aside, and tend to the struggle you are going through when trying to adjust your language.

If you need to find someone to talk to about it, please do. But someone who isn’t trans or nonbinary.

Ya’ll rock, thank you for listening ?

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1 Comment
  • Emma Gray

    August 30, 2020 at 3:09 PM Reply

    I feel the same, Dara. I always feel my shoulders raising up to my earlobes as I conclude that I must phone customer service. Although I’ve had extensive voice feminization coaching I’m on pins and needles. Will they gender me as ma’am (correct) or sir even after I’ve given them my unequivocally feminine name?

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