Underneath my yellow skin

Gender diversity and me

One thing I appreciate about Ask A Manager is that she often has articles from a diverse panel of people. Today, she has a post about how to include trans and gender-diverse people in the workplace, which is relevant to my interests. I really liked Kalani Kaahi Adolpho and Stephen G. Krueger for their thorough and thoughtful answers and because they engaged in the comments. I appreciated that they were honeest that it wasn’t easy and that it wasn’t cut-and-dry.

It was interesting because it only took a couple comments before someone’s comment was blocked. By the comments in response, I can tell that the original poster made some snide comment about made up pronouns, blah, blah, blah. Later on, there was a lengthy comment by someone who said how hard it was to break the habit of calling someone by their given pronouns. She (and I’m very sure it’s a she) talked at length about how she slipped up with her own nonbinary child often. She also called her cis female friend they because something in her (the commenter’s) friend’s demeanor said ‘nonbinary’ to them. She also noted how her child’s presentation was primarily the same as their gender assigned as birth, so that made it harder on the commenter.

When the commenter got some pushback ranging from ‘try harder’ to how she was centering the conversation on herself, she went into victim mode, saying how she loved her child and would NEVER do anything to harm them, but no, she just needed to TRY HARDER. Which, I mean, yes, it’s difficult. My bestie’s child is nonbinary and my bestie is struggling with their pronouns. Made more interesting because their child uses they/(gendered pronoun), but my BFF does not want to default to the gendered pronoun. She confides to me her struggles, but I’m fairly sure she does not tell her child how difficult it is. Because that would be placing undue burden on her child.

Alison closed this subthread and noted that the conversation was not to be around the feelings of cis people. I really appreciated that because inevitably, these conversations turn down that road. I know it’s human nature to try to relate, but if it’s not about you, it’s not about you. There’s no need to make it about you.

In addition, Alison was quietly moderating the post with an eagle eye. She knew that it was going to be contentious, and she was not wrong. Someone who believed names have gender and was quite dismissive about it had their comment deleted. A pedant (who is in love with the sound of his own voice. He’s a regular commenter with a trans kid so thinks he’s an expert) went on at length how all the neopronouns were not going to stick and OBVIOSULY it was going to be they/them that stuck–and only they/them.

Yes, old cis het white dude. You are the one true truth teller on this subject. He didn’t even state is as an opinion, but as fact. That one was gone in minutes. There was another from someone who basically implied that ‘all this’ was nonsense. Gone in five seconds. It really made me feel better about commenting (and one of the authors actually answered my comment!) as someone who is currently identifying as genderqueer/agender. Gender is not important to me, which puts me in the minority. I don’t want to use pronouns, which also puts me in the minority.

The first time, Alison made a note about removing the comment, but from then on, she just deleted them. It was as if they had never been, and it felt great. I really appreciate the strict moderation on posts like this. She doesn’t give any heed to ‘free speech’, and, yes, there’s a reason I put it in quotes. I’ve long since believed that the peron who owns/hosts the website gets to set the rules. I may not like them. I may not agree with them. But then I go elsewhere. She has said it’s the same as going to her home. She gets to set the rules there, and I agree.

It’s funny when people try to argue that she does not have the right to ban them/block them/etc. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO MY OPINION. Yup, you sure do. But you don’t have the right to say it wherever and whenever you want. Yes, you have the right not to have the government come after you, but you can’t just go into someone’s house and spout any nonsense you want.

The part that many people don’t want to acknowledge is that other people get to react to whatever you say. So, sure. Say that you think it’s inevitable that they/them will be the only pronouns for nonbinary people and get told off for being an insufferable prick. In cases like this post, though, it’s detrimental to the people being discussed to have to read over and over how they are fucked up or wrong or broken. Or how HARD it is for cis people to change pronouns.

By the way, I don’t really get this on a cellular level. I don’t really have a problem adding new information about people into my data base. At least, not before my hospital stay. It’s not as easy now, but for whatever reason, gender stuff remains fairly easy for my brain. I wrote a comment in the post about how for most people, gender is very important.

It’s different for me. Gender is just not that important to me. I feel an affinity for women because of our shared experiences. I’m not going to freak out if someone calls me she/her, but I don’t relate to it. There are very few things in which gender actually matter. I get in theory how it’s at the core of most people’s beings, but I just don’t feel the same.

At this point, I don’t really care. I get called she/her, and I’m resigned to it. I understand that pronouns make things easier, and I’m not completely against she/her. I am not he/him, and I don’t like they/them.

I would prefer if people jsut used my name, but I understand that’s a big ask.

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