Laura Kate Dale, video game enthusiast and transgender woman, writes on the Huffington Post about her experience at Eurogamer convention. Ms. Dale participated in an Xbox game giveaway where her gender was misidentified, but that was nothing compared to what happened when she tried to bring attention to correct it:
During the time I was on stage, he referred to me more than once as male. Once he realized his mistake, he switched to “er, that person” rather than use female pronouns like he did for the other woman on stage. Everyone else was either “gentleman” or “young woman.” I’m just something that he was afraid to try to address.
I walked away pretty upset. I spoke to the staff manning the stage to tell them I was unhappy and asked to talk to the presenter. My requests were refused. I requested the presenter’s name so that I could make a formal complaint. They refused. At this point I was fairly upset and angry. I made a complaint anyway, but I also took to Twitter to voice my anger over the fact that this man had upset me, yet I was not able to tell him directly and get closure. I decided to head home — a trip of a few hours by train — and thought nothing more of it.
Those few hours changed everything. A friend of mine contacted me with the Twitter handle of the presenter, whose name turned out to be Fraser Millward. I was angry and upset, so, perhaps stupidly, I mentioned him on Twitter by his handle. Then a huge number of people started to retweet me, more people than I can wrap my head around. The story ended up on Reddit and 4Chan. Suddenly I was in the spotlight. I was getting tweets sent my way more quickly than I could read them, and everything happened at once. This all happened while I was on the train home.
Some tweets were supportive. Some were accusations that I’d made the whole thing up. Most of them were vile messages about how I am a man and a disgusting freak who would be better off dead. The number of death threats and dehumanizing comments I received was unbelievable. Being misgendered at Eurogamer was nothing compared with my punishment for speaking up about it. This is why trans people rarely speak up when these things happen.
This is why we need to support our transgender brothers and sisters. This is why it is important to include them in rights legislation. No one should have to live in fear of speaking up to defend who they are and be identified correctly. We should all be speaking up about this, when we see it individually and collectively as well.