1. Emily says

    It really isn’t. Use the person’s prefered gender pronouns, and remember that transgender is an adjective, like gay, not a noun.

    And if they prefer neutral pronouns? They and them are getting used in the singular nowadays.


  2. badgersdaughter says

    Thank you; I had not been aware of the style distinction between “transgender” and “transgendered” in referring to a transgender person. It makes sense. There is no such thing as “transgendering”.

    As Emily says, some identify as neither male nor female and prefer neither male nor female pronouns (nongender? nongendered? I don’t like “neutral” and still less “neuter”) be used with respect to them. It is not difficult to work around this, but it’s somewhat confusing to the writer when the transgender individual uses a traditional name. All you need to do is pay attention, really.

  3. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Emily @ 1

    And if they prefer neutral pronouns? They and them are getting used in the singular nowadays.

    This is true, but as with anyone else we should always use the pronouns someone prefers. They is perfect with non-binary people who prefer that as their pronoun, but if they prefer something else and tell you so, use it.

    I prefer xe. Singular they directed at me always leaves me feeling vaguely confused.

  4. says

    And if they prefer neutral pronouns? They and them are getting used in the singular nowadays.

    And have been as far back as the fourteenth century. Many of the greats of English literature have used the singular “they”, including Shakespeare, Austen, Twain, and Thackeray. It’s by far the most common pronoun for expressing an antecedent of indeterminate gender (e.g. in constructions like “If someone texting and driving gets into an accident, it’s their own fault.”) in spoken English. If someone wants a gender neutral pronoun, I think the singular “they” is ideal (though if someone prefers some other pronoun like ze or hir, I’m not arguing).

  5. Wolsey says

    Oh, and don’t use phrases like, “I don’t agree with the transgendering.” Trans folks like me will not give you the response you are looking for, instead we will start laughing at you. I might even toy with the idea of putting “By the Power of Grayskull, Let the Transgendering Begin!” on a tshirt because it’s that funny.

  6. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Here is a great editorial about the ethics (lack there of) of outing Dr V. And why calling this a teaching moment is bullshit.

    (As a side note, here is how the author of the editorial is treated by one very vile TERF, Cathy Brennan. The murder of Brandon Teena is mentioned. Brennan tweets that the author was a seven year old boy when the murder happened and misgendered and dead named both, insisting that is reality.)

    (Meanwhile, slymepitters call Caleb Hannan a brave truth seeker.)

  7. says

    badgersdaughter #2:

    I had not been aware of the style distinction between “transgender” and “transgendered” in referring to a transgender person.

    Me neither. I totally borked it in a post just yesterday. : |

    But I edited it after reading PZ’s links, and now that I know I will strive to do better in the future.

  8. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Here is an example about “transgender” verses “transgendered”. Would you talk about a “tall” person or a “talled” person?

  9. Onamission5 says

    I was not aware that gender-bender is considered derogatory, as the only usage I’m familiar with was by folks who themselves are genderqueer or genderfuck identifying. So that’s good info to have and I appreciate being able to make a mental correction in advance of potentially totally fucking up someone’s day.

  10. badgersdaughter says

    It is possible to altogether avoid the issue of singular “they” versus “xe” or whatever if you train yourself to write a bit differently. For example, I have as a friend an older teenage boy who recently ended a relationship with someone who was biologically female and used a traditionally female name but did not identify as either male or female. When I referred to “Maria” (I just changed the name), I tried to avoid using any pronouns, even singular “they”, as much as possible. I don’t know what Maria would have thought of this, but I didn’t ask and neither did the boy. Believe me, it was difficult enough to help my friend with his relationship issues without knuckling under to his attempts to call his recent ex “she” out of spite!

    “Yeah, about Maria. I know Maria’s cat went to the vet. Did it go home yet?” (As opposed to, “I remember you told me Maria took their|her cat to the vet. Has she|have they brought it home yet?”)
    “Does your dad approve of your relationship with Maria? Oh, he’s happy for you both, awesome. What does Maria think of him?” (“Does your dad approve of them|her? Oh, he likes them|her, awesome. Does she|do they like him?”)
    “You’d better give Maria back that book you borrowed.” (“You’d better return that book you borrowed from them|her.”)

    I think you get the gist. Lots of “think before you type” going on…

  11. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The transgendering: There cannot be only two!


    Transsexual is an adjective, not a noun, as far as I’m concerned and for exactly the same reasons. The fact that trans* folks didn’t have enough voice to get non-trans* people to cut that shit out back in the days before transgender came along does not mean that the noun form of transsexual gets grandparented in as an acceptable reduction of life to a single axis.

    Fuck that noise.

    More later.

  12. Wolsey says

    I think in some cases, the outside world looks at transgender folks as one homogenous group. In reality we are really split up into different experiences. Trans women have a totally different experience than trans men, and then there is genderqueer and the non binary gender identities. There is also the agender folks that may or may not feel they belong in the non binary category. Then add race into that, and it splits up even further.

    I think that makes some terminology a bit more sticky. In a lot of genderqueer areas using trans* with an asterix to denote inclusivity of non binary genders is pretty common, but in some trans women areas it’s seen as insulting and a way to deride transgender women’s experiences.

    This means that gender-bender is probably a decent word for the genderqueer or genderfuck community, if they, themselves, use it. However, I am not sure on this one, but could see that the term could be used to undermine the feminine identity of transgender women to imply that they are actually men in drag, when that is not the case.

    Some of the biggest, nastiest, fights I’ve seen about terminology come from my own community among different factions. Add ideological differences like truscum, and derogatory terms like trans-trending, and it gets pretty involved.

    Personally, I think we are in an evolving state, terminology wise. The internet has let all these trans identified groups connect, and get support, making it easier to come out, and with the increased population, we are kind of pioneering a little bit because there is no one narrative or right way to be trans anymore.

    Sorry this got wordy. It’s been on my mind lately.

  13. badgersdaughter says

    Janine, that is just what I meant when I said there is no such thing as “transgendering” [someone], just as there is no such verb as “talling” [someone]. You said it better.

  14. Pteryxx says

    badgersdaughter @2

    As Emily says, some identify as neither male nor female and prefer neither male nor female pronouns (nongender? nongendered? I don’t like “neutral” and still less “neuter”) be used with respect to them.

    as far as I know “agender” is workable (like “atheist”, natch) but “nonbinary” may be more useful as a general term in discussion. See also “neutrois” which seems to be used only within the community. “Neuter” is right out, ew.

  15. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Onamission5, there is still a lot of debate within the community of trans people about the meaning and usage of titles. But I will give you a general rule of thumb; if the title sounds like a search for porn featuring trans women, avoid using it.

  16. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    Wolsey @ #12: I’ve yet to meet a single genderqueer/nonbinary person who uses “gender-bender”to describe themselves, and I’ve gently but very firmly told more than one person to never use that word to describe me again.

    Pteryxx @ #14: I’ve seen a lot of people using “nonbinary” as both an umbrella term for genderqueer, agender, genderfluid, neutrois, bigender etc. and also in lieu of “genderqueer” itself, because not everyone is comfortable with “queer” or especially using it to describe themself. (Also why I’m trying to not use that term to describe the general non-het community, plenty of people find it hurts like hell to be described with a slur they didn’t reclaim!)

    Goodbye Enemy Janine @ #15: I like this rule.

    Badgersdaughter @ #10: All the <3 to you for standing up for "Maria's" gender even though she'd hurt someone you care about. Seriously. So many people, even people who should know better, immediately misgender if the person is someone they dislike. Having your gender respected is not contingent on pleasing people in power!

    My mother refuses to gender me properly. And also briefly disowned me a couple months ago for being nonbinary. (No need for sympathy, things are getting better.) Dad, on the other hand, got it pretty easily, slips up very rarely, doesn't out me without my permission and doesn't take my awesomeness as a personal failing.

  17. nrdo says

    It’s pretty clear that in interpersonal matters, it should be a matter of common courtesy to ask person what they prefer and stick to that. What I didn’t realize was that “gender dysphoria” was disfavored, since I’ve heard it used by professionals in the psychiatric field. Obviously, labeling someone’s identity as an abnormality would offend them, but given that many transgender people seek medical intervention and feel better after reassignment surgery, the medical establishment is going to attach some sort of label. Is there any consensus on what that should be?

  18. Wolsey says

    Happiest Sadist @#16. That’s good to know. I’ve seen such a wide swath of terminology self used that I’m hesitant to know the right conventions when we get down into the nitty gritty.

    nrdo @#17: I have just seen some really big discussions regarding dysphoria lately.

    I have a dog in that fight because I am transitioning, and don’t experience dysphoria, and don’t politically/philosophically feel I want to define my being transgendered as a disorder for various reasons. I think those that want and need therapy should have access, but I also think folks like me should be able to go to informed consent clinics and get HRT as well.

    There are those that do experience serious dysphoria and want to have that acknowledged. I think it means it’s very personal how each transgender person deals with that. I’m not sure there is a consensus. I think all you can do is ask how the individual wants to deal with it.

  19. says

    Glad to have a nice link to give people about this. It’s nice and clear. I wish they included the “cis” family of words (cisgendered, cisgendered person) to denote someone whose gender identity is experienced as being aligned with their biological sex. It’s important to not let the default go unnamed.

  20. badgersdaughter says

    HappiestSadist #16, thanks lots :) I went through an early serious relationship breaking down because my ex decided she wanted to identify as a woman (and I’m afraid it did my head in for a while because I’m actually like a 0.1 on the Kinsey scale, even though I didn’t have a problem with her transition and completely supported whatever she needed to do to be truly herself and happy). I’ve thought about it a lot.

    The pronoun thing is so bloody confusing that even you, who I would bet my next paycheck is completely accepting of every sort of gender identification, referred to Maria as “she”. Not a gotcha and not a criticism. It’s legitimately hard.

  21. freemage says

    Over on Manboobz, one of our regulars (a transgender woman) has urged folks to move away from “MtF” and “FtM”. The core idea suggested by these is that the person once was ‘male’, and is now ‘female’–that there’s a change of identity, as opposed to a correction of nomenclature. She recommends, in cases where it actually is useful to identify the original designation, “AFAB/AMAB”–“Assigned Female/Male At Birth”. This respects the notion that the trans* individual’s identity is simply now being properly respected.

    And yes, in general, what I’ve learned is, “When dealing with a specific person, if you’re not certain, ask.”

  22. freemage says

    Yvonne @19: I agree with your point, but note that the term should be “cisgender person” (no “-ed”)–just to help establish a consistency in language.

  23. Nepenthe says

    Wrt “transgendered”: it’s true that “tall” is not a verb, but neither is “blue-eye” and yet we refer to people as “blue-eyed”. On the other hand, if some people are offended by it, might as well not use it.

    Fwiw badgersdaughter: my name is very traditionally feminine and I don’t have a problem with people using feminine pronouns initially upon meeting me. If I’m out to someone, I get annoyed with them using feminine pronouns and titles.* I can’t speak for other agender people though.

    *Mostly theoretical, as at this point I’m out to my partner and my cat, who just calls me “ugly bald cat” anyway.

  24. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @badgersdaughter, #2:

    As Emily says, some identify as neither male nor female and prefer neither male nor female pronouns

    Having never seen a pronoun with a penis or a pronoun that menstruates, I believe that you’re probably trying to say “neither masculine nor feminine pronouns”.

    This brings up the very first rule for me: know the difference between sex and gender. Know it like your friend’s life depends on it. Because sometimes it fucking does.

    Words don’t have a sex. Coffee mugs don’t have a sex. Bathrooms don’t have a sex. Prisons don’t have a sex.

    And yet, sometimes things are sorted by sex rather than gender. You might want to say “a prison for male persons” or “a prison for people AMAB” but you would never want to say, “a male prison”.

    That’s as fundamentally stupid and disrespectful as saying “a disabled parking space”. Awww, does the poor parking space walk with a limp?

    I would like others to know the difference between people and things. Things don’t have sexes. When you give them sexes in a world that objectifies trans* folk, you participate in the person/thing line-blurring that results in our murders.

    Don’t do it.

    If you need practice, fine. Most trans* folk need practice, sometimes for years, to unlearn this crap that is pushed so hard by cis* folk. I’m not fussed by every mistake, but I am fussed by an unwillingness to learn or by people who contend that it isn’t important to learn.


    Critical thinking: learn it, live it, love it.

    While you should definitely follow someone’s lead in referring to that individual, you don’t have to follow someone’s lead in referring to communities. A transgender person invisibilizing transsexual communities doesn’t give you license to do it just because that person did.

    We’re racist. We’re classist. We’re ableist. We’re sexist. We have our own unique hierarchy problems. And sometimes we’re just not educated because it’s all we can do to get though the day and we don’t have the spoons to think about the implications of how we describe ourselves. We have a description. It worked for us a few times. We stuck with it and now it’s ours, regardless of how fucked up it is.

    And that’s not okay, but it is where some people are at. Reflect that language back when speaking about that individual: it’s what that individual needs.

    But don’t throw out what you’ve learned about power and privilege just because it’s a trans* person speaking and, ooh, trans* stuff is so difficult to understand none of the other rules apply. We’re just as human and the rules do apply. You do us no favors by tolerating our racism or sexism or ableism or idiosyncratic hierarchies. You just help ensure that the trans* folks on the bottom of the trans* heap have no chance to rise with the rest of the trans* people lifted by social movement.

  25. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    badgersdaughter @ #20: I have a feminine name, I’m femme and I’m nonbinary, I totally get the difficulty, especially for people who’ve known me a long time before.

    *frames Crip Dyke’s #25 comment, hangs it on the wall*

  26. ButchKitties says

    If only Katie Couric had read this before her interview with Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox.

  27. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    We’re good.

    Willingness to learn is all: I’d be lost without it my own self.

  28. maddog1129 says

    I have an acquaintance that I knew first as a woman, and who then later transitioned to life as a man. I could not remember his new name. I had known him the longest under his former name, and had not seen him since before the transition. The best I could come up with was, “Please remind me of your name,” because I did not want to call him by the name he no longer uses.

  29. microraptor says

    There’s a person where I work who has me puzzled in this regard. They go by Alice and dress in a traditionally female fashion, but also use the men’s bathroom. I haven’t asked since I don’t know the individual well enough for it not to be prying.

  30. says

    microraptor @33

    Could go either way. Another bit of information that might help is that using the correct bathroom as a trans person is often a terrifying and life-risking act. A lot of cis people feel justified in defending those spaces and doing so with abuse, violence, bullying, etc… I’ve had to duck into the wrong bathroom in full presentation simply because the space did not seem to be safe enough to do otherwise. And with things like workplaces, that can be another level of scary because of the high percentage of discrimination against trans* individuals.

    But to answer your actual question, just introduce yourself, hi, blah blah blah, “what’s your preferred pronoun?”

    It’s a non-intrusive and non-prying way to ask.

  31. says

    Crip Dyke @25

    Random Pet Peeve Tangent:

    I kinda hate the current trend in some of the trans* community of trying to fold in the gender expression terminology and the gender terminology into one big basket (so things like transmasculine spectrum and so on).

    And it’s largely because I’m someone whose gender expression and gender are not at all the same and also because the assumption that the only way I could be a girl would be to be feminine in build and character was a major roadblock that kept me hurting and ignorant about myself for a much longer time than I needed to be (I figured myself out in grad school, but in my first year of undergrad, I pretty much knew, and convinced myself that I didn’t or that I was mistaken because I didn’t fit the “proper” frame of trans* experience.

    And it also feels kind of like an end-run around transgender or trans* as genuinely inclusive terms in order to re-reinforce a hierarchy of transsexuals as “real trans* people” and everyone else as “yeah, you should try to fit into our boxes if you want to be taken seriously. Which, is another source of nnnngh for me.

    I don’t know. It’s just me, but it’s one of those things that has become a major pet peeve of mine of late.

  32. says

    On the OP topic:

    Yeah, this really slammed home last night when I was watching the Wikileaks documentary. It was kinda shocking just how obvious and set in black and white Manning’s identity was, but nonetheless the documentary and everyone interviewed just glossed over it like it was nothing and it made me pissed off at friends who have been part of her supporters in helping to free her who must have had access to similar works but still thought it was “easier” to misgender her constantly even though they knew it wasn’t true.

    And it’s just kind of impactful to see just how out of its way our society will go to avoid acknowledging the reality in front of its face and to misgender and unperson trans* people.

    I think things are changing for the better, but Bob damn have we been given a terrible position to start from.

  33. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    How does your 37 relate to what I said in 25?


  34. says

    sorry, but this is bullshit:

    It is usually best to report on transgender people’s stories from the present day instead of narrating them from some point or multiple points in the past, thus avoiding confusion and potentially disrespectful use of incorrect pronouns.

    SO basically if you are reporting on someone with say, a criminal history, you are supposed to pretend that none of it happened (if it happened pre-transition). Or, if you do, you are only supposed to portray the present day person’s take on the event instead of doing any actual reporting. This style guide only seems fit for puff pieces.

  35. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    That’s a writer’s advice about verb tenses:

    She has a criminal history. She has a conviction for armed robbery on her record. (present tense of the verb “to have”)

    He was an armed robber, but she has now served her sentence (both past tense and present tense of “to have” b/c narrating from multiple points in time)

    The point is to pick a point in time after the person has been able to independently and thoughtfully assert their own gender identity so that the facts can be reported without the confusion of pronoun switching and the disrespect of ignoring identities.

  36. Nepenthe says


    Presumably the point about narration applies only to gendered language, e.g. if one were writing the narrative of a trans woman who robbed a bank as a teenager and transitioned thirty years later one would still write “She handed a note to the teller…” I honestly have no idea what you mean by “you are only supposed to portray the present day person’s take on the event instead of doing any actual reporting”.

  37. Nepenthe says

    Of course, when writing about a genderfluid person it may be appropriate to change gender throughout the story to match the person’s gender identity at the time.

  38. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    While it might be, I wouldn’t ever put recommendations on that in a style guide. Writers will never get it right, not least b/c of unreliable witnesses.

    I’d simply put in an awareness that some people are gender fluid and that in all such cases, one must work directly with the person involved to determine the best use of gender in a piece. Where the person is unavailable, that’s hard. I don’t know off the top of my head what I’d recommend.

  39. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Can you tell me how saying that pronouns don’t have a biological sex leads to trans* hierarchies?

    We need tools like “sex” and “gender” to talk about our lives in ways that allow us to be understood. I’m not trying to limit what people can say about our lives. I’m trying to release the limits by de-confusing sex and gender.

    If people can’t tell the difference between sex and gender, then how can I say that it’s wrong to force a feminine dress code on persons because they are female? Feminine and female mean the same thing in a sex=gender language, so how could that relationship be forced? They already **are** feminine, right?

    In a world where sex != gender, we can talk about this intelligently, but it requires caution. We’ve had so much practice conflating sex and gender that we say “female pronouns” without batting an eye, but the targets of our education aren’t going to get it if we say that being female is about biology and then call the pronouns female. Pronouns don’t have biology. Period.

    So from my point of view, I’m trying to make the details of our lives – transgender, transsexual, intersex, and others whose lives and distinctions I may not recognize or appreciate – understandable, and thus the oppression of our lives fightable.

    If I’m doing this in a way that causes other problems, I’d love to hear about it so I can address my approach.

  40. says

    skeptifem @40

    a) Usually would be a key word in that style guide.
    b) As we saw with the Dr. V article, there is a rash of journalists who think that trans* pasts make good “hooks” when they wouldn’t treat cis people in a similar manner. See also interviewers of trans* subjects who pressure them on the state of painful past periods or focus overlong on transition as if that was the beginning and end of a person.
    c) It’s more about pronoun consistency. Making sure that someone is referred ti accurately through all parts of their story (if someone is a transwoman, then they were always a woman and should be referred with accurate pronouns to reflect that).
    d) There is a poor track record among “media professionals” of not knowing what history is appropriate and inappropriate for discussion about trans* people. There is a current defaulting to the sensationalism of “ooh, look at this past deception or proof of ‘crazy'” rather than accepting one’s life for what it is or understanding the unique aspects of trans* lives or how they are vilified and made criminal by society (say in the example of the number of trans* people who are forced into sex work because of job discrimination and unsupportive families)

    And finally e) It’s written from a perspective of journalists absolutely sucking on trans* people. Being ignorant when they are not being openly hostile to the notion of depicting trans* lives fairly and accurately. So yeah, the default when you are a fuck up that can’t be trusted to start inserting your bigotry or bouncing around pronouns because you are “confused” or writing yet another “he-she” post is to shut your fucking gob and remember that you are supposedly a fucking professional who should be expected to act like it.

    So yeah, that’s the issue, not a GLAAD conspiracy to ensure that only glowing depictions of trans* people are acceptable (as if we’ve yet to have many/any good depictions or journalism of our lives and we really need to worry about being “too nice”).

  41. says

    Crip Dyke @46

    Well, I guess it’s that there is “biological sex” (which I prefer to refer to as “sex assigned at birth”), gender, and gender expression (or gender performance).

    I was assigned male at birth. By biological sex, doctors assumed that I was a boy and wrote such on my birth certificate based on a two-second glance at my junk and their assumptions that that matched my chromosomes (which I have no idea), fetal and childhood hormones (no idea), pubescent hormones (probably those most associated with male?) and all the other social junk that gets conflated with a supposed “biological sex” (I have my own issues with “biological” sex as it ignores that the brain is a biological component and posits a false dualism and a false scientific proclamation that is clearly untrue).

    I am a woman. By gender identity, by gender, I am a woman. I respond to her and she and other pronouns associated with female. My accurate marker of gender is F.

    But I am not femme. I have nothing wrong with being femme. I’ve tried to be femme at points in my life. I am also not butch. Again, nothing wrong with that, tried myself, but it’s not who I am by the social markers of gender expression and what I prefer. I could say I am androgyne in gender expression or performance. Indeed, my partner is and we share some characteristics there, but it is not my gender expression. Not the one that is most comfortable and not the one I am most comfortable in being seen as.

    What I am in gender expression, by categories of masculine and feminine is agender, for I feel I am neither a masculine woman or a feminine woman nor something in-between.

    And the point of all that being is this. In our society of trans* people, it is set for us that there is one path. If we are men, we are to be masculine men. We are not to be effeminate, loving pink, wearing ambiguous clothing or having slight, frail figures. Such men are supposed to simply deal with what genetics has bestowed them and soldier on in self-hatred. Similarly, if we are women, we are to be feminine women, with love of makeup and pretty dresses and if we’re built like a bull dagger or prefer a style of crew-cuts and doc martens, we’re supposed to hide that inside and trudge on, accepting the path isn’t for us.

    And I guess, for me, so much of my cage, so much of what kept me from myself was this notion that as a broad-shouldered, masculine-featured person, I somehow couldn’t be a trans* woman. That even though I knew that women in general could be anything from high femme fashion girls to anarchist punk butches and anything in between or outside, being trans* and being woman was somehow narrow and only for femmes, lucky enough by genetics to be thin and slight of frame.

    To be otherwise was to be the tragic trans* person, the joke in the comedy where the big tough former jock is trying to wear a flower dress like a tent. And even then, to be a trans* woman I had to be feminine. Even as a joke, if I was not a feminine woman or trying to be, then I wasn’t to be counted.

    And that still bothers me, because it seems more an echo of the doctors who tried to limit us in order to “protect” the world from having to deal with our reality and it seems especially transsexual focused and even then on only a specific subset of transsexual experience that are held in regard above all the diversity in our little community.

    So I guess what I’m saying is not that I disagree with the need to separate “sex” whether it is referred to as “assigned” or “biological” from gender.

    But rather that we should be careful not to then associate gender with gender expression as if being feminine or masculine were inherent to being women or men. Because that is as patently untrue as being assigned male or female is inherent to being a man or a woman.

    I don’t know. As I said, it’s a personal peeve and I might just being bad and wrong here, but yeah… sorry.

  42. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    So I guess what I’m saying is not that I disagree with the need to separate “sex” whether it is referred to as “assigned” or “biological” from gender.

    But rather that we should be careful not to then associate gender with gender expression as if being feminine or masculine were inherent to being women or men. Because that is as patently untrue as being assigned male or female is inherent to being a man or a woman.

    I don’t know. As I said, it’s a personal peeve and I might just being bad and wrong here, but yeah… sorry.

    You’re fine, Cerberus. I think you’re misunderstanding me, but I totally get where you’re coming from.

    Frankly, I come from the same place. I’m not femme. I’m not particularly feminine. But the pronouns I use and respond to are feminine or flexible, not masculine.

    And they aren’t female pronouns either. Just as you wouldn’t have to be femme to be a woman, you wouldn’t want to have to be female to be a woman. Failure to menstruate doesn’t kick you out of the club. If “feminine pronoun” was meant to enforce “feminine person” than “female pronoun” would be equally intended to enforce, “female person,” right?

    But I’m not talking about the person. I’m talking about the word. “Livre” is a masculine word in French. We don’t have masculine/feminine nouns in the same way in English, but we can still talk about masculine and feminine words (or objects, like clothing).

    Masculine and feminine are about the psychological and the social. Sex is about biological reproduction (though it is categorized according to conventions, it is **about** biological reproduction). Words don’t biologically reproduce. They don’t have biology at all.

    So I point out that we’re gendering these words – and frankly, that’s bad enough. I don’t want to be so relentless in gendering objects and words and styles and all the things cis people want to gender. But to gender them AND sex them, as if gender and sex were the same thing, well that’s something I feel comfortable arguing against.

    So, yeah, you and I aren’t femme. And I don’t want you to be anything you aren’t. But in what way is “female” not enforcing something that “feminine” is? And why is using a biological word for a non-biological object better?

    This is where we disagree, but I get that we disagree **because** you have the experience of forced gender and that you’re hearing feminine pronoun = feminine person.

    I say fuck that noise, and I always have.

  43. says

    Crip Dyke @49

    I hear that, but I guess…

    I don’t know. If the issue is that female and male have been lost to sex, whether or not we use it as male-assigned-at-birth or “my biological sex is male”, then I feel a same battle has been lost for “feminine and masculine”,

    They are very strongly linked with gender-expression and that conflation is going to cause a lot of pain for young trans* people who are seeing being appropriately feminine or masculine so closely linked to being trans.

    So what we need is words to describe gender that are neither owned by sex nor owned by gender-expression. That are about being a man or a woman or something else. Boys and girls is fine for a period, but is infantalizing for adults. Using the actual pronouns used is useful as well. For those outside the binary or in-between it, there are also a wealth of terms that have gained acceptance. So the real conundrum is those who do identify as one of the big two.

    And I guess, it seems to be man or woman. “I am a trans* man. I am a cis woman, etc…”. Which leads to the final bit which is how to adjective the pronouns. “I prefer X pronouns”. How to describe that without conflating something.

    And I guess there isn’t a standard for that. We have all our tricks. “I prefer girl pronouns.” “I prefer she/her.” “I am a woman.” And so on…

    But I dunno… yeah… sorry. I get your points and their strong and I tend to avoid sex-gender conflation where I can avoid it and see that struggle as key and important in trans* activism and visibility work.

  44. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I just want to end this little discussion with love for you, Cerberus.

    Love you deserve.