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4 Ways to Recover When You Misgender Someone

August 30, 2023

When you misgender a person, it can feel bad for everyone involved. The person who was misgendered may feel invalidated, sad or even angry, while the person who misspoke may feel guilty or embarrassed by their error. So how do you recover after you misgender someone? “Mistakes happen. What’s more important is how you handle the situation and be better prepared for next time," says Whit Ryan, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Hartford HealthCare Center for Gender Health. Here's what you can do. [insert-cta-small id=40621]

1. Apologize.

When you make a mistake while talking, admit it. Taking responsibility shows the person you’re talking to that you recognize and care about your error.

2. Correct yourself - and others.

Once you know you made a mistake, correct yourself. Likewise, when someone uses incorrect pronouns for a person in their absence, it’s important to politely correct them.

3. Move on.

Continue with your conversation. The worst thing you can do is center the issue around yourself, and force the person you're talking to to comfort you.

4. Practice makes perfect.

Even when you’re not talking directly to the person in question, practice using the right pronouns. Saying things like “I’m seeing them tomorrow” or “they'll be here” helps your brain remember what to say when you’re talking in-person. > Related: What Does it Mean To Be an LGBTQ Ally?

The take-away

Everyone has pronouns. Knowing how to be conscious of someone’s identity is a great way to make strong and honest connections. “Language is evolving quickly - there’s nothing wrong with letting others know how you identify and how to be best respected in a conversation."