ON PRONOUNS DAY - AFFIRMING GENDER[LESS] IDENTITIES

Society has in recent times been challenged on using he/his/him pronouns for males and she/hers/her.

An increasing number of people are becoming aware of their gender or genderless identity.  Deckman of Washington College has found in her surveys that 1 in 4 Generation Z identify as queer as in transgender or genderqueer. 

Ve/vis/vir is an example of an alternative set of pronouns.

A nonbinary person will use they them pronouns.

All this is a change from how the person who meets you uses pronouns based on what they see.

That is why a male will get male pronouns.  A transman with a beard and male manner and appearance will get male pronouns too.

A female will get female pronouns.  So will a transwoman who has made a huge effort to resemble a typical female.

This is changing.  The person with the alternative pronouns has the right to expect you leave what you think you see, or what evidence you think you see, and cast it aside.  Let the subject tell you who they are and what pronouns reflect that. The person who needs their pronouns respected will be clear, "I know who I am and what pronouns reflect that.  I don't need to prove it to you.  Don't humiliate me by making me defend myself and my lived experience to you".  Some will say that with ID such as passports, that it is for identifying you and not about affirming your personal self-expression.  But that gets us nowhere.  If you are male or female or trans male or trans female or genderfluid or nonbinary or genderless then that is part of what it means to identify you.

The argument that it is simply good manners and inclusive to call people what they want to be called is problematic.  Pronouns are important to most who use alternative pronouns.  A person with gender dysphoria will feel unsafe or bullied by being called the wrong ones.  It is not about good manners. You have to consider the other person's pronouns to be valid and true.  Otherwise you do not respect their existence.  Also the good manners policy leads to women or men or non binary being treated as the sex or gender they were assigned at birth when they commit crimes.  People assume say that a female rapist assigned male at birth has no right in court to be given her she, her and her's.  People routinely refuse to respect the feelings of those who crossed a line.

People object that this is letting others impose labels, labels that they choose and put on themselves, on you.  The pronouns are describing who they sense they are in their heads.  It is said you are asked to respect their sense of who they are and not any material evidence.  But in fact some material evidence is in the mind and in the way the brain reacts to existence.  You are rejecting obvious material evidence to affirm that there is a person here whose DNA has somehow made a sense of self that does not seem to match the body the person has. 

Having issues or disputes about gender identities being valid and real is like having a problem with "black people are human".  Some object that to say that transwomen or transmen or nonbinary people etc are not real is not saying they are not human.  In the case of transwomen it is calling them men of a different type.  In the case of transmen they are women of a different type.  But if a man is one type of human and woman is the other type then they are being called a human of a different type - something not that different from an ape.  Nonbinary or genderless are being called inhuman and accused of making themselves unhuman.

Some ask why you would change the sex on your birth cert if it was only in the last five years you felt and decided you were transgender?  If sex and gender were two separate things would changing the sex on it matter?  If gender is more important to you than sex then why not?  If sex and gender are as good as each other then why not?

A person's sense of themselves is about how they feel about themselves at their core and how they engage with and relate to others.  So it is about how others interact with them as well.  All human beings have to be part of some level of interconnectivity or union.  That is why you are never part of your community or company unless they affirm your identity.  Your sex is in your head and is about being a person.  That matters more than genitals or anything else.  You cannot be reduced to chromosomes or sex organs.

The bottom line is, my existence my pronouns for it is my body my choice.  It is not about happiness which is never guaranteed.  If you say trans should do what they can to make them happy, then fine.  But try not to mean that they should avoid surgery or hormones or a complete social transition if that would not make them any happier or even make them miserable.  That is gatekeeping.  Their body their choice.    It must be about choice for I don't want people forcing things on me on the basis that they think the things will make me unhappy or do nothing for my happiness.  Nobody must assume everything I do should be about making me happy.  I am more than a sense of happiness.  I am a person.

Celebrate the choice of the other otherwise if they are unhappy you are likely or potentially part of the reason for their misery.

Non-binary and genderless and trans may be confronted by those who make them feel that it is stupid and deluded to think that their identity is physically real.  It smacks of demanding that others validate your imaginary identity and treat it as real as Mount Everest.

But until you realise that biology must give you your inner self regardless of there being strict physical proof you won't understand.  Trans men and men both experience maleness as a form of personality.  Transwomen and women both experience femaleness as a form of personality.

Religion likes to get you to think of its label, Catholic, Muslim or whatever as somehow being YOU.  But it is obvious that gender identity or racial identity or being human identity is not the same as any of that.  It is a true identity.  It is real.

Many women feel that transwomen steal female and woman and women, their words.  Many men feel that transmen steal male and man and men, their words.  So what if they do?  Christian outmoded morality condemns that kind of stealing along with every other.  "Thou shalt not steal".

One issue is the gender that should go on Identification documents and passports.  It is claimed that a nonbinary person will not be found if they are lost when their document says nothing about their "biological" sex.  So the thinking is that the ID must show what characteristics and sex traits you have so that you can be identified.  The argument that ID is not about making you feel your gender identity is real and validated but helping to find you seems strong.  But that does not change the fact that it is abuse for you do decide who somebody is as a person, male or female or whatever.

Some trans or nonbinary people will attempt surgery on themselves if they are not helped.  If surgery is going to be done it is better done by somebody who can do a reasonable job which means the medical team is needed.  What your biology makes you in your head matters more than what it makes for you in any other way.  The surgery they attempt is not self-mutilation but removing a defect.

Some nonbinary people may call themselves mother.  Or it may be that father may be the best term.  Some may use both terms or switch from one to the other.  Some may use parent.  This subject comes ties in closely with pronouns.

Out of respect for people we must honour their preferred pronouns.  We must do so not because we want to avoid awkwardness or to be mannerly but because we consider them to be true.  People need to be accepted as being who they are.  Pretence does not help.

Pronouns are about how others see you.  If people feel they are forced to agree with you about your gender identity then let them grow up.

 Gender is a spectrum and man and woman are less approximate terms then we want to think.  Doing this only harms one entity that we should not worry about.   And that is religion.  Christianity is based on scriptures and theologies that assume that God made them male and female to fit together in sex so there are only two sexes and sex is gender and gender is sex.

Love the sinner and hate the sin or love the person and hate what they are doing to themselves are passive aggressive.  To affirm gender identities you clearly have to love the person and love who they claim to be even if that means disagreeing with a supposed God.  Just as to hate reproductive rights is to hate women especially the vulnerable women who need them, so to hate pronoun rights is to hate the persons who have these rights.

Respecting pronouns changes society.  It leads to the sweeping change we need in order to give people's gender identities the rights that come with them.  Nobody should be forced to stay in a body that does not match or express who they are. Medical and social transition is a human right.  Respecting pronouns is a part of this care and validates and calls for that human right to be affirmed and provided for.  The worst form of marginalisation, the worst kind of discrimination and the worst kind of hatred is to tell somebody they don’t exist. The discrimination offenders might be nice to you but nice does not mean love. Being nice benefits them and it is about them.  Refusing to use a person's pronouns needs to be made an offence.

To sum up,

Pronouns out of respect for a person feeling they are in the wrong body, the wrong sex, the wrong existence is not really respect.

That is patronising politeness.  That is patronising pity.

Patronising is a fast route to full transphobia and it shows a discriminatory attitude and discrimination breeds discrimination.

It's not about the person's feeling but the person's truth.

Pronouns are for you to declare who the person is and must be used in sincerity.

Gender dysphoria is agony and trans do not need insincerity from you.



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