What You’re Actually Saying When You Ignore Someone’s Gender Pronouns

Let's Queer Things Up!

It can’t be emphasized enough: Coming out as transgender or any variation thereof is downright terrifying. It is often met with criticism, resistance, and invalidation. When I came out to friends, it felt like the world was crashing down all around me.

And by far, the worst part was the resistance I faced when asking others to stop saying “she.” Beyond coming out, we also ask others to change a very ingrained habit — to use different pronouns when speaking about us. This is where I encountered the most turmoil.

Some folks simply don’t understand what they are saying when they refuse to use someone’s stated gender pronouns.

When someone states their pronouns (he, she, ze, they, etc), they are asking for your respect. And when you choose not to use these pronouns, and instead opt for your own, you are not only invalidating someone’s identity, but you are also…

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To Secular Talk, for his video about Five Instances where Transgender Students were denied their right to Identity Expression

I’ve enjoyed your programs before, Secular Talk, before I started my current channel *Transingularity*, which has eponymous companion blogs on Blogger and WordPress. You’re passionate, and you clearly try to be rather more *Logical* than the people you’re Critiquing. It is important that we supportive listeners *do* show *support* to speakers who are expressing ideas we (even at least *basically*) agree-with, to much-larger audiences than we-ourselves feel we would likely have been able to reach on our own. This, unfortunately, creates a *Dilemma* for us, when we hear a speaker who is doing the *Right-Thing* by-us–; but who–; unfortunately–; may not always be *Performing* the task with necessarily the level of *Skill* or [responsibility] that we felt were *Requisite*. Merely *Settling* for, the “*Least*-” Deficient *Presenter*–; even when there were frank *hordes* of entirely more-competent *Speakers* on *the other-side*–; really isn’t *any-better*–; than one’s just *throwing-in the-towel* or *joining* the opposition–; because–; in-either-case-; the *Outcome*–; were going to be the same–. So don’t treat what I’m about to tell you as just another perverse instance of the proverbial “No-Good-Deed’s Going-Unpunished–;” You’ve got *the right-idea*–; but there were way too-many *logical-fallacies*, in the speech you just-delivered here. That, unfortunately, gave the whole effort, the unpleasurable and unsettling impression that it was all little more than counterfeit-effort, patronizingly-done all for the sake of mere *lip-service*, with the subsurface-message, that the target-audience are a bunch of desperate-beggars so-anxious for that one-crumb or that one isolated ray-of-sunlight, that they would grovel with feigned-gratitude for even the least-convincing sign that someone-else were at-least, giving-them the most condescending little *shout-out*–. This seems to be *an error* within whatever editorial-communities–; (particularly *outside-of* what is commonly called *the* political *right*–; where there is *better-cohesiveness*–;) try to “Cover–;” an *extended-range* of possible client *communities*, *issues*, or *topics*–. While *the-fact* that at-least they may be *at-least attempting* that–; even-when it has become a problem-in its own-right that so-few people even *did*–; and that the *set* of separate-groups with at-least *closely-related* issues therefore suffer critical *balkanization* or fragmentation, as a *result*–; the thing that these would-be “pan-issue” speakers then *get-wrong*–; is the fact that they mistake, cramming, whatever-*number* of separate *issues* onto their *plate* for knowing *what* to say about possibly any *one* of them–; or they might-be *on-point* with at-least *some* of *these-issues*–; but *only at*-the-*expense* of whatever *others* –; of-whom his *mis*-handling–; otherwise creates the disturbing *Impression*–; that those-groups’ respective-*Inclusion*–; is otherwise only “for-the sake-of” what might be called formalistic or token “completeness–;” or pretty-much, as an *After-Thought*–. One of the problems *younger* speakers have, is that they don’t think the audience can see their lips moving when they are putting-on their ideological puppet-shows–; whereas it *actually* is *tooth-gratingly embarrassingly* obvious–. If you’re *watching-yourself*, *presumably* you’ll at-least *register* that “*something’s-off–;” whenever your mind hands you an ideological-or logical-“klinker–;” but if there are *a thousand* pairs-of-ears on what you’re-saying–; take-it for-granted that anything that only *just-barely* gets-caught in *your-own* intellectual *Filter*–; is going to *set-off* the *Total-Nonsense Alarm*–; in 5-to-20 or more of those in *that* mass. Did one want to *Protest* the-implication of that–; by then-saying, that, “Well, I’ll just *Selectively* Ignore *those* few ingrate-*Malcontents*. *Dammit*–!;” *realize* that *those* ones who are *perspicacious* enough to *catch* your *logic-errors* really-are the most-*valuable* part of your *audience*, because *they* are the meaningful negative-feedback system to help you become the *kind* of speaker that really can *help*–. I *regret* to tell you that your report presumably *defending* transgender-students was instead so-*rife* with blatant *Logical-Errors*–; that it could-have been viewed as almost more of a *parody* of the plight of *transgender-students*–; than as any-whatever then-*defense* of-them–. Your first argument, about the speciosity-and hypocrisy of the “girl” getting sent-home from the “prom” for “wearing-jeans” passed-muster–; in-that it *was* logically self-consistent–. Your train went off-the-track during your critique of the “boy” who was told to “wash-off” “make-up,” he had “worn” to “class” on “the last-day,” and then-given an apparently *quite-specious* argument for their-having *required* him to have-*done* that–; when you argue first that it’s “swell,” or “okay,” for a “male” student to “wear make-up publicly–;” and try to introduce an ostensibly-*supportive* secondary-argument for-that–; in-the form-of referencing *your-own* practice of dabbing smears of typical *acne-makeup” on isolated *blemishes* you may find on your face, *for-the-camera*–; even-though this is *clearly*, *not*-at-all *the-same*, as make-up *that is-used expressly* to express a *female* or *feminine*, *identity-sense*–; For God’s sake, Sec, *don’t make* any of *your listeners*, *have-to point this out to-you*–! Then–; perhaps *actually* catching this glaring boo-boo–; you launch into saying, regarding how the so-called “make-up,” *even-you* actually *would* or *did use*–; actually was *totally-different* from the kind of make-up the admonished male-student had *been-wearing*–; yet you don’t state this as any *correction* or *revision* of what you had *just* said–; but *really* sound more like you were instead-*amplifying* or *defending* that *other-remark*–; like you were using your *free*-foot to *pry-out* the one you already had *gotten-into your-mouth*–; but-*instead*–; only-managed to have-gotten *that*-one *caught* in-there–; *along-with* the *other* one–! Without continuing this-fineness in level-of-scale (not-that it’s that-*fine*–;) of *analysis* for *the-rest* of your *gaffes*–; the *main-point* about what you’re most-*consistently doing-wrong* here–; is a case of *missing the* relative-*forest* for-the-*trees*–; in-the sense-that–; while it *remains* however *completely-valid* that the schools all are engaging in *intellectual-dishonesty* and *hypocrisy* every time they apply a *Contrived argument* or duplicitous pseudo-justification, every-time they argued-for another given-student’s prohibition from expressing variance from assignment in gender–; the point common to *all* of them, is that this was present perhaps *every-time*–; so treat the *whole-disease*, then–; not-just the *individual-instances* of manifefst-*symptoms*–. There are *Two* things *going-on* in *each* of *these-instances*–; whereas you *Address* consistently only-*one* of them–; where those *Two-Issues* are *Gender-Assignment Role-Policing* in its role as being inconsistent with the individual-expression code of this democratically Constitutional-Republic (to word it loosely; please, let none of you legislation-experts derail-at me by *Nitpicking* the meaning of my usage of the word *democratic*)–; whereas *the-other* issue is that of the specific-*implication* of whatever *dissonance* there is between *increasing* transgender expression within society outside the classroom–; versus otherwise whatever *otherwise* changes–; there might-have been in the structure of the classroom-itself, viz the unprecedented changes to the entire Western K-12 education system since phony programs to “improve” it, including “No Child Left-Behind,” and “Race To the Top–;” which actually are two stages of a program called “Common Core,” which is the most anti-educational measure ever adopted, and throws all children under the bus to gratify bureaucrats that they were being duly lionized as the kings-of the-hill they always expected to have-remained, no-matter what-else happened anywhere-else, to anyone else. A good idea can be gotten of the form of the changes to modern education can be gotten through episodes written about school (or child-services law) changes in the satirical comedy of Mike Judge in his earlier animated program “King of the Hill,” (no relationship to the context within-which I had used that expression proverbially in my last sentence–;) Rigid, formal, bureaucratic *Rules* are continuously *Invoked* to demand another *measure* against a *student* (or their *parent*), that utterly flies-in the-face of *Common-Sense* of any-kind–. Somewhere in the 1990’s, schools were the place where the implicit meaning of the policy-term, “Zero-Tolerance,” suddenly was *flipped 180-degrees*–; from connoting a practice or policy that was generally prohibitively and redundantly *rigorous*, and which was *condemned* to have caused incomparably more *harm* than even whatever *good*–; to suddenly *the ideal standard* for *enforcing anything*. An early precedent was a school who based their defense of a “Zero-Tolerance” policy against students having *weapons* on their persons, in their desks, or in their lockers at school–; which might have been excessive if the school were a high-school, or if what they were considering a “weapon” were perhaps a *fingernail-clipper–;” but the item was a pocket-knife, and the school topped-out at eighth grade–; so I thought, this school is too small in presumable size to recognize that much “autonomy” in that spacial “intimacy” among kids that “young,” so that, yes, the policy *was appropriate*. The problem was, that too many news-viewers got-sold on the *universal* legitimacy of “Zero-Tolerance” by schools right after *this* long even *before* so-called “school-shootings by-students* even had become-a-thing, and there largely was almost a *lynch-mob mentality* in the general-public, against *school-students*, over ever-increasingly even the most *trivial* of perceived *infractions*–. The kid getting-suspended for chewing his PopTart (R) into the shape of a two-dimensional cut-out outline of a *hand-gun* as merely a wry *joke* was when this *hyper-bureaucratization* and scapegoating of school-children or students–; rose to the status of the *Spanish-Inquisition*–; *complete* *blind*, acceptance of whatever the ever-increasingly *mindless* bureaucracy *dictated*. These opaque-heirarchies mis-deputize *everybody* down the *long-ladder* of the *chain-of-command* so that *everybody* is recruited to be the top-level’s *hired-gun* with *the only* person deprived of even *any* recourse or recognition *whatsoever’s* being the poor *student* in the school–; Now, given *this*, it is at least *equally* likely, that schools were bullying *transgender* students by increasingly denying them opportunity to have *expressed* their *identity*, because they had trained everybody in the system to *bully* or *betray everyone* in the student-body–; yes, *again,” *not* just by *denying* freedom to wear specific *clothes*, *hair-styles*, or *make-up*–; but also by *their* ostensible *justifications* for those *prohibitions*–; which–; as-you clearly-say here–; are *cut-out of whole-cloth*–; *on-the-spot*–; *to-spite* each-respective-*student*–. People who already know how oppressive, treacherous, and unfair to the individual student the entire education system has become, and become that way, even before youth-transitioning or recognition of transgender-identity had even emerged in-earnest with the access-enablement of hrt–; will be selectively-Unimpressed at how your analysis completely overlooks either that widely-known reality nor the salient or controlling role it would have played here. Transgender people will feel however-*Slighted* by your sloppy treatment of this analysis of how young transgender people are treated in the education-system, but we tend to be at least somewhat forgiving for what that’s worth. The one’s you’ve really got to worry-about are the *Anti’s*, namely, *Transphobic* people. When I was growing-up, I was never deprived of an education about how indescribably, ineffably *monstrous* “Transphobic people,” or their weird, assassinatory *Institutions* and *Agencies* could-be–; and my life was a constant *flight-from* and *vigil-for* the approach of *the next* one, whether when I got called into the *Office* or threatened and abused there, the next-time in a school, or a huge, menacing *goon* would be sent to my parents’ house to *Occupy* it, or again to *terrorize me*, or when I was trying to find a minors’ advocate to challenge something my Mother had coerced me into doing that could have been proven to have been demonstrably unacceptably detrimental, this was *hijacked* by one of the people I got dishonestly *referred-to*’s instead trying to bully me into submitting-to evaluation for *treatment* for the fact that I expressed my transgender identity, which they wanted to assure me, *they* regarded as being *more* “Taboo–;” than the entire *rest* of the *Western-World* all *put-together*–. After that, I would encounter social harassment I would be subtlely-informed was linked to my gender expression repeatedly throughout my post-college years and early-adulthood, and one after another emissary of this cult of institutionalizable Transphobia devised one way after another to sabotage successive periods of my progressively unfolding lifetime. There’s *No-One* who can tell *Me* Transphobia wasn’t *Gigantic*, *Towering*, and *Rabid-and-Relentless*–. But now that doctors have *Enshrined Kids* who normally wouldn’t be empowered to pick what color bicycle they were going to get, are being *Guided* into hrt and even surgery before they are even old-enough to drive a car–; These kids are so weak and green, the best I can say about them, is that they look to me like a little baby sitting in a diaper, wearing a baby-bonnet and holding a rattle, sitting in one of those play-pens, and babbling, “Today, I rode in a fwying sosser, and I watched mommy bake a cake. It came out bad, coz she fogot it woz in de ovin. Too bad. Tomorrow, I am go-wing to be a boy (girl) instead of a girl (boy), and Mommy-and-Daddy awe go-wing too hellp mee wit’ aww of ‘dat. Hee-hee-hee.” They have *No Perspective* on this *whatsoever*. They think “*harassment*” or “*intolerance*,” are just some innocuous, isolated-and-fleeting little light-taunts, like somebody shouting from across the inside of the seating area of the stadium, “Hey, I see the late Robin Williams over-there dressed as Misses Doubtfire,” or calling an ftm “Jerry Louis–;” because of the untransitioned physique. They have no idea what this put *me* through in *my* life before hrt was even a *pipedream* for all but a few of us who mostly were used more to *scare* the remainder, out of *even-contemplating* getting-it, than ever to have *inspired* any more of us–; and they have no idea how many instances of this brutality (confinement and permanent neurological injury through knowingly toxic *drugs*–;) terrorization (occupation of my home by a stranger, who was intimidating my own parents out of either challenging them or protecting me), and an unending saga of unspokenly “corrective” intentions to commit “date-rape,” and vile, endless *opportunistic* oppressions, where specific people *just* patiently-*waited like* so-many *vultures* for me suddenly to be cornered by some new life-crisis so suddenly *then* they could just *pounce* or reveal their *long-hidden resentments* about the fact that I *revealed* who I *was*.