‘A slap in the face’: Misgendering and concerns regarding pronoun usage

Karlii Beaulieu is not standing for being misgendered following a recent interaction with her bank.

She says during that conversation, numerous employees misgendered her several times.

“Hearing someone that you’re trusting with your money say ‘Hello, sir’ when you’re clearly female is a slap in the face,” she says.

Beaulieu believes more people and corporations should be learning how to interact with inclusivity in mind.

“We really need to focus on what we can do around that,” she says, “educating more adults on how we can handle the situation better.”

Tory McNally, HR services director for Legacy Bowes, says interactions between employers, employees, and customers are an evolution and should continue to evolve in an inclusive way.

“It will be an ongoing effort that needs to be made throughout people’s lives,” she says, “but I think that anything you can do to further the cause and create that recognition is important.”

“I just think [gender fluidity] is part of who I am, just the same way as any other gender,” says Koda Maxon, a gallery attendant with the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. They identify as gender fluid with they/them pronouns.

Their journey of self-discovery was one of healing and working on themselves.

“You ask someone what being a woman is in your identity and there might be different answers,” they said. “But it’s not something that’s so black and white to me.”

From an HR perspective, McNally says it’s important for companies not to make assumptions regarding their employees.

“That’s not their entire identity always either. They don’t always want to be the token individual at work who’s answering to those kinds of things,” she adds. “So treat them as a human, treat them as a quote-unquote ‘regular employee’, and allow them to do their jobs the vast majority of the time. Give them the accommodation and the respect that they require when they ask.”

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