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Misgendering in the Legal Profession

Everyone has the right to dignity and respect. When you misgender a person, you communicate your attempt to strip that person of their dignity. Regardless of your intentions, your mislabeling is othering, disrespectful and dehumanizing.

For those wanting to do better:

I challenge you to attend the Conway Professionalism Speaker Series, "Misgendering in the Legal Profession" on March 3, 2023 at 12:00PM EST. It is taking pace online and registration is required. You can register HERE.

The event will be moderated by Amy Salyzyn, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. Speakers will include Chan Tov McNamarah, Cornell Law School, Samuel Singer, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, and Adrienne Smith, Adrienne Smith Law. The event is accredited for 1.5 EDI Professionalism Hours by the LSO.

For those who believe that "misgendering" is not their problem: Consider the following questions:* do you like it when someone calls you by the wrong name repeatedly? Do you think that they are doing it on purpose? Do you expect them to get your name right after you have corrected them? Do you view it as a sign of disrespect if they don't? If these questions* resonate with you, consider learning what misgendering communicates to those around you. Learning is never bad. It helps us become better communicators, if not better people.

*While being misnamed can be less harmful than being misgendered, these questions can help those who are not transgendered, two-spirited or non-binary begin to understand the cumulative effect of being denied your identity. Such objective violations create unsafe spaces. The legal field, of all fields, should be a safe space for everyone.

We applaud uOttawa's Faculty of Law, Public Law Centre, and OUTLaw Student Group for your incredible leadership in organizing this event. We look forward to learning with you on March 3, 2023.

By Katie Black

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