In a significant “misgendering” incident, Becky Kent, a man from Wisconsin who now lives in Dundee, Scotland, received his divorce decree with a post-it note atached to it that officials apparently forgot to remove from the paperwork. The 51-year-old found that, along with the note, the cover letter for the divorce decree had also been addressed “Dear Sir” despite Kent’s demands to now be recognized as a woman (even though he has not taken legal steps to change his sex). The handwritten post-it note said: “Colin it’s right!!! Man – changed his name to woman’s name – statutory declaration attached!!! Takes all sorts!!”
Kent – who fathered 8 children – is in the process of demanding a formal apology, all the documents to be redrafted with the correct titles, a public pledge that the courts system will uphold its equality policy and for all staff to undergo training.
Was it wrong to attach a note, undoubtedly attached to the divorce decree to inform the regular person serving the papers, with no knowledge of the special issues of the transgender community, about Kent so he would be served with these important papers? Yes. Mistakes happen. People are human.
Is this a civil rights violation? No.
However, transgender activists are keen to convince the public, legislatures and courts that “misgendering” is akin to assault, such that trans people – particularly trans women – are “justified” in their over-the-top responses to said “misgendering.” Such responses have included hitting a woman with a beer bottle, running a person over with a car, and throwing a tantrum in a dollar store. At least one court (in the United States) has stated that the “purposeful” use of masculine pronouns in addressing a transwoman, who presented as female, and the insistence that he sign a document with his birth name despite a court-issued name change order, “is not a light matter, but one which is laden with discriminatory intent.” Fashioning a remedy for such “damage” caused by people using their powers of observation will prove interesting, and, no doubt, harmful to Women.
Incidentally, millions of Lesbians across the world stand ready to join in a class-action lawsuit for every time we’ve been called Sir or Mister or told “This is the ladies’ room.”