The first time someone asked me.

Someone wrote…

Last weekend I was at Models of Pride, a youth conference for LGBT teens. They asked me what my preferred pronoun was. It was the first time someone asked me. I almost cried I was so happy!

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on November 8th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 13 comments »

13 Responses to “The first time someone asked me.”

  1. Eli

    I was so unprepared for my first asking. I stuttered and defaulted to female, which I wish I could undo. But it was so incredible to finally have the choice.


  2. Jessica

    Triumphs are great. You’ve got to remember them when you encounter tragedies. It’s so easy to get negative when the world crashes down on you… but every now and again you glimpse a flower in the concrete, a kind word, a sympathetic question. It makes you feel so alive.


  3. Anonymous

    I went to Models of Pride as well :)
    A friend of mine got the same animal as me though and was with me at the ice breaker so I didn’t feel comfortable being honest because I didn’t want him to ask questions :/


    Jessica replied:

    How sad. Reminds me of a Yevtushenko poem:


    Oh what a sobering,
    what a talking-to from conscience afterwards:
    the short moment of frankness at the party
    and the enemy crept up.
    But to have learnt nothing is terrible,
    and peering earnest eyes are terrible
    detecting secret thoughts is terrible
    in simple words and immature disturbance.
    This diligent suspicion has no merit.
    The blinded judges are no public servants.
    It would be far more terrible to mistake
    a friend than to mistake an enemy.

    Yevgeny Yevtushenko


  4. Ace

    I am a member of an organization that has different caucuses such as women’s, LGBT, etc. At one point, I asked one of the organizers of the women’s caucus if it would be okay if I sat in as a way of coordinating between them and the LGBT caucus.

    She went to confer, and came back to tell me that they had chosen to organize as a closed caucus for women only. Then she asked me, in a completely sincere and businesslike way, “Do you identify as a woman?”

    I answered no, but I told her I really appreciated the question; she hadn’t assumed the answer on the basis that I’m male-assigned, 6’2″, and was wearing a tie, and she made me feel that if the answer had been yes I would have been welcome. It made me feel good for the rest of the day.


    Jessica replied:

    I take part is charitable activities and it really makes me feel excluded when people organize women’s only or men’s only groups to do things. You get volunteered for the one, whether you like it or not and they just don’t tell you about the other things so you’ll miss them. It always makes me feel like crap.


    Ace replied:

    In this case it’s not a way of organizing to do events, but a representative caucus for women as a historically underrepresented group. I take your point as regards your and similar experiences, though.


    Jessica replied:

    Oh, I understand quite often when it happens and I live with it. But it still smarts. I wish sometimes I could flip a switch and today I am a male and click tomorrow I am a female… no different in me, but appraised as and accepted as M today or F tomorrow.

  5. Meike

    I wish more people would ask about preferred pronouns. I really want to just default to this question whenever I meet someone new. That would definitely throw people for a loop.


    Elliot replied:

    I think about doing that a lot. It would get people to stop and think before making assumptions. And if everyone started asking others about preferred pronouns then hopefully gender variance would not be such a “weird” thing.


    Meike replied:

    Yeah, exactly. I actually don’t think of it as a rude question (I’ve heard that some people do), I think it’s an incredibly considerate question. I mean, best to be on the safe side and ask than make assumptions and be wrong.


    Elliot replied:

    Yeah, I’ve also heard that some people think it’s a rude thing to do. But honestly it’s not that different from asking someone if they’d prefer a nickname (like a lot of teachers do on the first day of school). And while many people will probably look at me like I have three heads if I were to ask them about pronoun preference, I will never know when I’ll happen to ask someone this seemingly simple questions and end up making a huge, or small, positive impact on their life.

  6. Ka7

    It means SO MUCH to me to have this posted :). And, to the person who posted that they didn’t feel comfortable because xer friend was there, if they were there they might be a lot more open-minded than you think!


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