Saturday, September 8, 2018

Hello, I am Trans and Use "They." It's Fine if You Don't.

You know, sometimes it's really hard to be cis.

Local Seattle writer, Katie Herzog, informed the trans community and everyone else how hard it is to be cis in her most recent discussion of queer gender politics. You see, a lot of people use the pronouns "they/them/theirs" in queer communities as a default in order to make sure they don't misgender people who may or may not be trans. Katie got called "they" a few too many times, I guess, and it made her mad.

Katie Herzog's latest foray into the realm of trans commentary (by a cis person. Thank God we have a cis person explaining trans experiences) encapsulates a bit of frustration. She gets called "he" or "sir" sometimes. Sometimes she even-- oh God, no-- gets referred to by gender neutral pronouns.

Believe me Katie, I understand your frustration. I am a nearing-my-40s bearded trans girl who uses gender neutral pronouns (according to Katie, this is an invention of "the youths," which isn't at all dismissive of queer non-binary elders, or you know, the youth) who gets called "sir" all day long. I get referred to as "he" by acquaintances, coworkers, and members of the public every day I step outside of my door.

Every time I have that kind of interaction, I have to make a risk/gain analysis. Would it make me safer to say "no, I am not a man, do not refer to me that way?" Or will it expose me to vitriol, violence, or the unending onus to educate every single person I meet, everywhere I go, about using "they" as a pronoun? Because trust me, when you use gender neutral pronouns, you have to have that conversation everywhere you exist if you need them to be used. It's never a short one.

"Excuse me, sir."

I accept and treasure that it is not just a personal act but a political one to identify as a woman.  Therefore, if someone calls you "they," you should correct them. You know, the few times it's happened to you this week. Or maybe the once. This month.

Like I'm expected to in order to be respected and accepted, every hour of my life.

Your sham martyrdom piece is not only the antithesis of intersectional feminism, it's just a continuance of a long history of anti-trans nonsense refuted not just by trans people, but by the medical, psychiatric, and psychological communities at large. Whether you're starting off by highlighting people who are who detransition as the main focus of transness, calling queers who have a gender you don't understand straight (... cuz they don't have the same genitals as their partner? I'm starting to get confused, do you know what "queer" means), or you're just straight up being mean to trans people on the internet, I'm really gonna say:

Please stop. Stop talking about trans people. You don't understand us. And frankly, we don't understand why you feel the need to talk about us. You're "she/her/hers." We get it. Just let us know next time.

Because lord knows we'll be telling you what our pronouns are. We'll use yours if you use ours.

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