MISGENDERING – Karen Adell Scott for neverblendin and the Give ’em Hope Campaign


Actress Laverne Cox correctly labeled misgendering as an act of violence toward transgender people. ‘Clocking’ is the act of determining that a person before you is perceivably, in your judgement, not the gender they are presenting, compelling you misgender them as the gender YOU CHOOSE them to be. Getting ‘clocked’ is a descriptive colloquialism used by transgender people referring to having others accidentally or on purpose gender a transgender woman as a man, a transgender man as a woman, or a gender fluid person incorrectly. 

To ‘clock’ is: “To realise, to catch on, to notice.” Clocking can lead to attack, sexual assault, rape or violent murder. The danger of attack at being ‘clocked’ is why transgender people seek to ‘pass’ as their true gender and become invisible. Passing is an unfortunately necessary life-saving, danger-avoidance behavior in our pervasive transmalevolent culture. Being clocked and misgendered often causes intense fear in a transgender person. It may also cause tremendous emotional pain. 

Science shows that transgender people are born with a normal but rare birth difference. In little boy bodies the brain is not washed with enough androgens to result in male gender formation and in little girl bodies the brain is washed with a large amount of androgens, resulting in a transgender boy being born. Partial washing results in gender fluid babies being born. Being transgender is no different than being tall, short, having beautiful brown skin, or being blue eyed; just more rare. 

Transgender men and women who go through for them, the wrong puberty, deal with the poisonous effects of the wrong hormones causing physical changes in their bodies that do not match the true gender of their brain. Transgender men may have no facial or male-pattern body hair, unwanted breasts, small hands, wider hips, female fat distribution and smaller stature. Transgender women are often tall, have heavy, sturdy skeletons, with masculine traits like a strong jaw, thick brow bossing, large hands and feet, male fat distribution, thinner hips, thicker waists, and testosterone-caused low voices that are difficult to alter to a proper female pitch. These unwanted conditions cause those who look at all human beings as being supposed to follow a culturally perpetuated physical norm to misgender us. 

Being misgendered as the wrong gender is tremendously painful to human beings who absolutely know they are not the assigned birth gender selected by the presence or absence of the single SRY gene, or other cause of being transgender. We try so hard for our authenticity only to be clocked and misgendered despite all our hard work to pass as our real selves. 

Add to the pain it happening nearly every day for some of us dealing with more of the wrong features due to the hormonal poisoning, and you can see the vast pain it causes. We try and try, only to be still failing at presenting as who we really are. Our sometimes inaccurate presentation due to our birth difference makes us a targets for often constant pain and danger. The pain, targeting, endangering and rejection we experience due to misgendering violence result in huge rates of suicidal iteration and tremendously high attack, assault and murder rates of transgender people. 

As my transition has progressed now for my fourth year, I experience misgendering less often, but it happens, especially where I used to present as a false male.  Previous knowledge amplifies the misgendering no matter how feminine I may appear. My hands are large, I am 5’10’, have broad shoulders, and my voice is way too low. Being a teacher who has to talk loudly for a living, it is very hard for me to have a chance to consciously think about my voice working higher. Today was a misgendering day. 

I was helping a man roll a banner at a Film Maker’ Alliance meeting tonight. He was an actor I cast in a previous film when I presented as a male. When we were chatting while rolling the banner he addressed me as, “yes SIR” after responding to a comment. 

It was loud and, I believe accidental. The root of this is caused by the fact he still thinks incorrectly of me as the man he used to know. It still hurt terribly. 

I use being clocked and misgendered as a teachable moment. Each transgender person is an ambassador for all of us. Many of the people who accidentally misgender us after clocking us have interacted with few or no transgender people in their lives. They are not acting with malice. 

When misgendered, I assess motive immediately. 

If I become angry and behave with that anger toward them I will effect their perception of all transgender people inaccurately. I may cause an accidentally misgendering person to become permanently transmalevolent. We do not need more of those people, assuredly. 

Seeing he accidentally misgendered me, I told him I was a female and that he needs to change his thinking. I pointed to the other women in the room and asked him, “Would you address any of these women as ‘sir?” He said no. I then calmly explained to him the pain and hurt being misgendered as male when actually female may cause any woman, and told him that my being a transgender woman made being misgendered very hurtful. I explained to him that to someone like me it is about the worst thing he could do.

I then dropped the subject, smiled and changed the conversation. 

Immediate demonstration of the total unacceptability of misgendering is necessary in all cases where we are not in immediate danger. Responding with calm, kind educational purpose is often the best way. 

There are other motives though, and clocking can be done with vehemence and purpose to push a politically transmalevolent point of view. 

When I came out, FOX News’ Tucker Carlson’s “The Daily Caller” website wrote an article on me where they impugned my true gender throughout the entire article, questioned my own personal comments, and clocked me with malignant purpose. The Daily Caller, and other organizations like them, seek to push the falsehood, or the culturally believed and perpetuated lie that there is, “no such thing as a transgender person,” by consistently misgendering all transgender people. Those who misgender with malignant purpose must be treated as the bigoted transmalevolent miscreants they are. 

Lavern Cox stated it well: Misgendering is violence. It can be small, accidental violence or purposeful cultural warfare against the reality of all transgender people, like done by The Daily Caller. All kind and thoughtful people need to be consistent in speaking against this behavior and helping change the culture to accept the normal humanity of transgender people, regardless of their ability to look like accepted phony norms of their presenting gender or not. Interestingly enough, when Lavern Cox made that statement, The Daily Caller, true to their consistent, bigoted form, called her “Mr. Cox” as they addressed her statement. 

I posted the misgendering story from the Daily Caller back when I was first coming out. Their reporting was so bad that GLAAD called it the example of, “…how NOT to write about a transgender person,” resulting in many articles attacking the Caller as the transmalevolent, bigoted, hateful organization they are. 

We ALL may be misgendered, no matter how well we pass. It’s knowing that we are still truly the gender we are, and choosing education and peace that will move us all to a day when this never happens again. 

Take heart, we may not live to see it, but that day will surely come.


About neverblendin

David Watters, a graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh, Trinity College of Music, London and the Institute of Education, University of London, has worked internationally within education and Educational Management for more than 20 years. He has taught extensively within many socially and culturally diverse settings; most recently as a Head of Performing Arts within Further Education. He is a personal and professional development associate with The Pacific Institute (www.pacificinstitute.co.uk), personal coach, freelance writer and founding member of NBI Associates. He is a writer on social equality issues, is a key player in the Equal Love Campaign UK and author of the forthcoming book, NEVER BLEND IN which features key voices from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and which aims to inspire and encourage those who may lack self-esteem or who question their validity. David is currently promoting a youtube campaign"Give 'em Hope"and is asking individuals, couples and groups to make and share videos telling about the benefits of living with personal authenticity. He has shared a platform with Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell and is a supporter of 17-24-30, The Trevor Project, Schools Out, The Terrence Higgins Trust, The Albert Kennedy Trust and numerous others. His background in arts and education, combined with a solid understanding of Cognitive Behavioural Strategies, and his passion for Equality Advocacy drive every aspect of his work as a personal development facilitator, motivational speaker and writer. View all posts by neverblendin

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