Views from the Bridge

Of Pronouns and Such

Posted on: June 1, 2012

Terri (mom) and Colin

Pronouns have taken on greater importance since your coming out, right?  And I know that we have discussed it ad nauseum.  It isn’t as easy as most people would think, though, is it?  There are the traditional gender pronouns, he/she, him/her.  Now there are new gender pronouns, ze, zim, zer.  These are all concepts that I understand.  It took me a while to accept that they/them could be a chosen pronoun for a single person.  Really seems like multiple personality disorder when a person refers to zimself (Themself!) as a they or them.  But, you have persuaded me.  I still won’t use it in an academic setting.  🙂

However, what we discuss back and forth and round and round is other chosen pronouns.  You have told me that whatever someone identifies with, they can use as a pronoun.  If they identify as a tree, they can use tree as their pronoun.  Now, darn it!  This is just confusing.  Will you please tell me why that is okay?  Why isn’t it confusing?  Isn’t it confusing to you?  Do you know someone with such a gender expression?  If anything can be a pronoun, how can we navigate language?

I don’t actually see it as that difficult. Maybe that’s just the way my mind is wired. Maybe not. I’d probably say yes to the way my mind is wired. At my school, when PGP’s are explained to new students you see  a few reactions typically. There are the few that know what you’re talking about, and either help explain or roll there eyes and wait for you to be done because they already get it and can we move on now? There are those who just light up and sometimes ask, “Wait, so I can use anything as my gender pronoun? Wow – that’s so cool!” It just makes sense, no questions asked. There are also those who after ten minutes of explanation still give you the what-the-hell-are-you-talking-about look and say, “Wait, so why is my PGP he and him? I don’t get it.” Of course, there are other reactions, but those are some of the typical. It’s always just made sense to me. I don’t know why, it just does.

By the way. PGP stands for Prefered Gender Pronouns, and is the words you use to call yourself or have others call you that describes your Gender Identity. My Gender Identity is male. Typically male identified people have the PGP he, him, and his. I personally describe my Gender Identity (male) with the PGP he, him, and zy.

I have a friend whom’s Gender Identity is Tree. This individual uses different types of trees to describe their gender based on how they feel about treeness today.

An individual I have not met, but have heard about – they used to attend my school – has the Gender Identity Rainbow. This persons PGP is the colours of the Rainbow, and changes day to day.

What are your recommendations when using pronouns?  What should people never, ever say?

Recommendations are just try to remember. If you are in a fight with somebody never purposely misgender them. That is asking to not ever have that friendship again. Mistakes are forgivable. Just try. I will say. Unless a person specifically tells you they identify as it, never, EVER, call somebody an it.

What is the hardest thing for you, regarding pronouns?  I suspect it is the mistakes a few people constantly make, repeatedly.  What is your greatest joy?

It’s really frustrating when the same person messes up constantly. If one  specific person can never get you pronouns right, even if they apologize  when they do, it’s so frustrating. It makes me personally feel a bit underappreciated and disprespected. It’s well appreciated and enjoyed when people  just, get, pronouns.

How can we help you?  And what can you do to help us?

Um… listen? And I guess if you’re listening, I’ll talk. 😀 I like talking. 😛

I know that this “tree” discussion causes some heated arguments because I have a hard time accepting a person using tree as a pronoun.  It makes me think they are a bit loopy.  I’m sorry.  I can’t help my reaction, but I’ll try and listen and hold your point of view. 

All’s well that end’s well.

The weather on the bridge today was stormy and blah.  And our conversation was too.

That’s because broska was in the car. 😀 Good day sir!

3 Responses to "Of Pronouns and Such"

Reblogged this on Cloaked Monk's Blog and commented:

A discussion about pronouns.

Does everyone get to chose their pronouns of choice? How big is this school? Is it a public school? Hmmm….if I got to chose a pronoun….I’m cheerful, absent-minded, quick to distract…sounds like a dog, but I don’t “feel” like a dog…I’ll have to work on this.

Everybody get’s to choose their own pronouns, just most go with what they identify their gender with! I identify as male, so I use he, him, and his as my pronouns. The addition of zy to the pronouns I identify with is because I had a very androgynous childhood, and though I identify as male, I still feel fairly connected to my androgynous youth. It is, in fact, a public school! I guess, just because the system of public schooling is kind of… messed up in my opinion, there are gems here and there. 🙂 And pronouns are how you describe your gender, not yourself, though for some, they use their gender to describe themself. Hope that helps!

Colin d.

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