i’m a cis dude
who used to be a fat boy with longish hair
i got sortof misgendered maybe twice in my childhood because of it:


fourth grade, playground.
a girl with curly brown hair asked me, “are you a girl or a boy?”
is it that hard to tell? “boy”, was all that i stammered.
i was shocked with embarrassment.
she was being completely sincere, not mean at all, not goaded on by friends, as far as i could tell. just curious.
i can’t remember what i did last weekend, but i still remember what she looked like and what the weather was like and where i was standing and the direction i was facing


fifth grade, gym class
three combined classes had to do some kind of physical exam
the girls went to the girls’ locker room
the boys went to the bleachers
one at a time we each had to remove our shirt and get prodded or something, in front of everybody
“this will be embarrassing and maybe some assholes will say something but nobody really cares, it will be fine,” i thought.
my turn, took off my shirt, and the whole gym exploded with laughter. “he’s got titties”
wtf… everyone? really? has nobody ever seen a fat kid before…?
wtf i’m not even the fattest one here
looking around, sure enough, even some boys i thought were my friends were dying with laughter.after that, one of the most popular kids from my class had some pity and demonstrated, without putting more attention on me, what i should have done: he told the teacher he didn’t feel comfortable and refused to participate, insisting that the exam be done in private. even though he was in great shape and nobody would have said a word to him. i think he even managed to get the policy changed. we weren’t that close but that wasn’t the only time he stuck up for me. i remember you, dude.


i’m fairly neurotypical and self confident but
that shit got seared onto my grey matter so thoroughly that i’m now nearly forty years old and it influences how i see myself to this day.

twice. in my whole life.

what would it do to me if i had to experience that shit every damn day? if assholes went out of their way to do it intentionally, to demonstrate their disagreement with my basic existence. i can’t even imagine it.

so if you think of yourself as a decent person, respect peoples’ pronouns for fuck’s sake