A Little Song and Dance about Pronouns

[This post has been recreated and may not contain its original comments, for which I apologize.]

I say everywhere–in the backs of all my books, here on the site, at all the vendors–that I don’t care about pronouns.

It turns out… I might be in a bit of denial on that front.

So sometime last week I inadvertently caused a seriously awkward situation to go down between two friends of mine, and after apologizing profusely to both of them (and being basically told to shove it, though they’re nicer than I am so it was more polite than that), I started thinking about it. And I haven’t really stopped.

I say I don’t care about pronouns, but I like the z-based pronouns. (There are a few sets; I like ze/zer.) I helpfully use them in a sentence in my “about the author” just as a demonstration. For my money, you also can’t go wrong with they/them. That’s a really good standard default pronoun set, and I don’t know anyone who skews non-binary who’d fault you for it.

I might care a little about pronouns.

The thing is, I came up trying to change the world. I came up in the high school gay club organizing events and facilitating teacher in service trainings. We were doing something big, making a difference. We marched in parades and dared anyone not to take us seriously.

So when I put pronouns next to that, it seems like a silly thing to prioritize. The way that marriage has seemed at times to be a silly thing to prioritize. You can still be denied housing for being gay, but look: wedding rings!

Except, much like marriage, pronouns are part of the everyday fabric of the world. They’re unavoidable. People use he/she pronouns to gender me every single day, and I notice.

Do you notice your pronouns? I notice all the pronouns like a slight weight on my skin. When people use my pronouns correctly a little tiny bit of that weight disappears. And I don’t have the expectation, I don’t feel entitled to it, but maybe I should. Maybe it’s not too much to ask.

Many years ago it came down through the grapevine that a friend was transitioning. We’d known her as “him”, but she was not becoming herself. I nudged a friend when she slipped with a “he” and she shrugged. “He said he doesn’t care.”

It was so clear to me that “I don’t care” was bullshit. It was so clear to me that it mattered. But I was utterly unable to see the same truth in myself.

Of course it matters. Of course I care. I’m not stoked about it. I’m not coming from a position of confidence on this front. I still think a lot of other things in the world matter a hell of a lot more than my particular pronouns. But on the other hand, it’s not too much to ask. So many things matter more than this, and if you like me, if you respect me, this is a very direct way of honoring who I am.

They/their makes me happy. Ze/zer makes me a little teary with the happy. Because I care about my pronouns, y’all. Officially.

July 26th, 2015|Categories: blog|Tags: |

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