Pronouns and Transgenderism

What Are Your Pronouns? Is How FRIENDS Respect Each Other

So, I went to SlutWalk 2016 this year and had myself a FABULOUS fucking time, thank you very much for asking, even if you didn’t.

And girlfriend, let me tell you: I was schooled and educated on a LOT of the imbalances and hidden truths that happen between old women and young women, women of color and women of privilege, and the privileges of women of color as well, and how they all intersect and interact and disconnect at times. 

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There were women who weren’t sex workers but just loved the freedom of expressing their sexuality, young women who were just discovering their bodies and feeling their puberty expand and even have it blossom in front of their open-minded mothers who were also marching in the SlutWalk. There were thin women, thick women, bald women, braided women, Black women, Asian women, Aboriginal women, South Asian women… all sorts of body types were there.

But one moment of awesome truth and revelation I had was when I was with my sweet friend who I made a “Fuck Rape Culture” sign with, and instantly bonded over some very passionate equal rights and mutual attraction. We discussed how shitty it is that we still need to have a SlutWalk, how shitty it was to have the ten cops on bikes menacingly floating around the ladies and gentlemen trying to express their freedom, and how shitty the modern reality of homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, slut-shaming, ableism, racism, sexism, classism, and worldwide fuckory is on planet earth.

Then my moment of revelation came in the form of an attractive individual—in a flowery lingerie skirt, high heels, a pink tube top, and a nice little hat on top—who sat down beside us to chat.

We were all making our introductions, and my sweet new friend asked me, “What are your pronouns?”

I replied with my strange but genuine answer, “I don’t mind being called anything. Call me guy, girl, dude, sweetheart, love, they… anything. I’ll hear you.”

I asked her “What are your pronouns?” And she said “I go by she and her, basically.

And I was like, “Cool.” Then came the jewel. I asked my girl’s new friend in lingerie, “So what are your pronouns?”

And they blew my brain the fuck open by saying: “Well… I go by ALMOST anything… I like they, or them, I like her and she and anything femme like that. Just don’t call me anything masculine, like man! I spent twenty years as that, and I ain’t going back!”

And from that moment, I was like “Holy Fuck. I hope I NEVER fuck up this person’s pronouns!”

I can’t imagine how heartbreaking and frustrating it must be to spend all your energy, money, clothes, time, space and life to transform your entire identity, and someone just mis-genders you because they are being a lazy ignorant fool who believes old ideas that are irrelevant in this present space and time. Yeesh!

Just seeing someone who I knew was a trans woman, but never having had spoken to them first before asking about pronouns, it gave me a clear insight from the START of the friendship, how important it is for someone to feel like their future is a place where their identity can exist safely and securely.

It’s as simple as a woman saying, “My name is Elizabeth, and I hate being called Liz. I fucking can’t stand Liz Taylor and the name Elizabeth comes from my dead grandmother, so I would appreciate it if you always called me Elizabeth, because that is my fucking name… not Liz, not Liza, not Lizzy, not any abbreviation you might want to be slack enough to say.”

Sometimes, people need to learn lessons more than once though, and pronouns may be one of them. But for me, and this person, they were a SHE forever.

I loved her for teaching me that!

Addi Stewart

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