Saturday, January 30, 2010

Excuse me Sir, I mean Ma'am I mean...

I quite often find myself wishing that it was socially acceptable to ask people their preferred pronouns, without hearing Ms. Manners screaming in the background on the audacity to even think to ask such a vile and rude question. But seriously what is the big deal about asking people their preferred pronouns? It is not asking what is between their legs it is just asking pronouns. Now I know there are probably more people who fit ever so nice and neat in their sex, gender, gender expression and gender identity all at the same time. And I am sure those people would be insulted if asked what pronouns they used since it would be seen as "are you stupid can't you tell". But I would rather ask and get it right then assume I am looking at someone who's pronouns match their gender expression it isn't always that easy. There are people who LOOK like their gender, sex, gender expression and gender identity matched had pronouns that didn't match what you thought you perceived?
Also Queer, trans, gender queer, gender variant, gay, lesbian people are not the only people who look androgynous. There are plenty of Non-queer (excuse the umbrella term) that would not fit in what has been decided as the appropriate gender-expression for their gender and it is just as hurtful to them to perceived as the wrong pronoun. Just as it is for all of us queers. Except the big difference is the non-queer wouldn't be held responsible or judged differently for the mistake. Where as in my experience it is the queer's fault for the wrongly used pronoun and that we should deal with it and adjust not the other people

So I get back to where I got started, why can't asking a person's pronouns be as simple as asking them how there day is or saying good morning or saying my name is Corbyn and I go by he, him, his. I hope someday the fear of being insulting by asking such things will go away and more people will be more comfortable asking and answering the question what pronouns do you prefer? Since the person asking must respect you enough to care to make sure to get your pronouns right.

1 comment:

  1. Great comments, Corbyn!

    I am with you that asking about which pronoun to use should not be that big a deal. Reactions are all over the map. Since our Think Tank last Oct. I have be doing this-the reactions vary from shock to outrage to curiosity to the simple, "I prefer he."

    Or if I can't ask that question and explain one more time why it is a polite question of respect, I use the person's name and no pronoun.

    Keep telling us what simply makes your day better. I, for one, will do what you need.