Pronoun Pressure at the Clinic

I have my next HRT appointment in a couple of weeks, so I have been rehearsing what to say. I get pretty nervous about these appointments and I have found that rehearsing likely conversations helps ease the anxiety. I am fairly certain that I can handle most conversations that will come up, there is only one that I dread: the pronoun discussion. It has come up multiple times at every appointment so far and the staff at the clinic have only gotten more insistent about it.

To summarize the issue in one sentence: the clinic staff wants to address me by a name and pronouns that match my gender identity; I would prefer they didn’t. This should not be a big deal. I will tell them when I want them to use different pronouns. However, it seems to be quite an issue to the clinic. The staff ask multiple times every appointment and seemingly imply that I am wrong for not switching. While I like almost every other aspect of this clinic, I dread the constant pressure to change my pronouns.

I have a few reasons for not switching my pronouns yet. First, it feels disingenuous for people to use those pronouns when I am presenting as a man. Second, I don’t want them to out me. I am still closeted and don’t want them using she/her pronouns or a woman’s name while I am in the clinic lobby. Third, and most important, I just don’t want to change my pronouns yet. I feel like that should be reason enough.

So far, I have not told the clinic my reasons for not changing my pronouns. Instead, I kinda hand-wave it away with a “maybe next time” or “not yet”. It takes a lot of emotional energy for me to assert myself and I don’t really feel like this is worth the energy expenditure. Besides, the nurses and doctor have good intentions. They are trying to be supportive and trying to acknowledge my gender identity. It would seem unreasonable for me to get too upset over it. Until I am ready to change my pronouns, I can deal with the questions. As long as they keep prescribing my HRT, any pressure to change my pronouns is a secondary issue.

2 thoughts on “Pronoun Pressure at the Clinic

  1. I can understand the pressure you are under at the clinic, Natalie. The good folks there just assume that as you are on HRT, you just want to go full steam ahead. Good luck with your transition.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. I completely understand that they have good intentions. I am just conflict-averse by nature, so having to “stand firm” on my pronouns is personally draining. It is ultimately a personal problem though.

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