Now, to give you a bit of background, my mom is HORRIBLE with names/pronouns on a general basis. My entire life when my mom would try to call out one of the siblings names (Lucky, Jackie or Derek). She would always start with the wrong name and have to cycle through all the names until she got to the right one. It didn’t matter who she was trying to talk to.
- Mom (trying to call out my name Lucky): Jackie, Derek, Lucky…
- Me: Mom, you called out everyone’s name first again.
- Mom: God damn it, you knew who I was talking about (she would say this jokingly, not in an actual swearing match).
It isn’t that my mom is stupid, but she is forgetful and this happened to all of us siblings. I should have seen this might be problematic with pronoun usage with Jello. She has known Jello for 27-28 years, starting when Jello was my best friend (years before we started seeing each other). For the first 25, the pronoun Jello used was she/her.
As a reminder, my mother has been incredibly supportive of Jello’s transition. The fact that she originally brought up gender identity as a 66 year old biker lady was both unexpected and fantastic (I can’t find the post I talked about it to link to, sorry). She has had only one area that has been troublesome for herself. That is pronoun usage when she is talking about Jello in passing.
She gets the pronoun usually right, but sometimes she and would slip up and say the pronoun “she”. Not usually when talking to Jello, usually it was when talking to me on the phone. This doesn’t bother Jello or I much because she corrects herself immediately, pronouns are hard to change and there is obviously no malice when she does say it.
This has changed drastically for the better after the surgery. While Jello missed my dad’s passing, he was able to go to the funeral (the surgery made him unable to travel the 120 miles to my parents house when my dad was in hospice and he passed before Jello could travel).
He showed up though with three weeks of beard and a flat chest. Now the beard is growing in pretty well for Jello, but its still very light. However the chest was a huge difference. Jello use to have DD sized breasts and even when bound they were noticeable depending on the clothes he wore or how he stood. Now though he doesn’t wear any binders and he has a flatter chest then I.
My mom slipped up once during the day of the funeral (understandable, a lot of stress). She got herself though apologized immediately. Jello jokingly said with the beard growing in it would be hard for Jello to pass as a “her”. My mom didn’t refer to jello as a she from that point on during a very stressful day.
Since then we have gone up weekly to see my mom (last three weeks). Jello showed my mom his scars on his chest. My mom marveled at what was done and agreed it looked good. The one side thing I have noticed though, my mom hasn’t used the wrong pronoun with Jello in the last five weeks, since Jello pointed out the beard and especially not after showing his chest.
I honestly hadn’t realized the chest surgery would help so much that it would even help those that are already accepting and try to follow the right protocol with Jello.