halfthoughts

A gender journey

Category: Pronouns

Sometimes I barely even notice

I’ve been telling people about my preferred pronouns a lot in the last few weeks. Sometimes, when people actually use them, I barely even notice.

A house mate used they to refer to me while talking to another housmate  and it almost didn’t register that it was me. It was me!

A counselor used they to refer to me while chatting on the phone to the scheduling person, and it almost didn’t click.

But I think the fact that I don’t notice is a good sign. Because the opposite effect happens when I’m misgendered. Whenever someone uses she or her pronouns to refer to me, I definitely notice. There’s a pulse in my chest and then I  get panicky and anxious, because I have to weigh whether I want to come out to them in that moment or not. Usually I don’t. Especially if I don’t know them very well.

Today, for the first time I corrected someone who used her pronouns while talking about me. It was a person who I felt comfortable with enough to actually correct, probably because he already knew my pronouns, and he was also queer.

Now I just need to work up to correcting other people who don’t know yet. We’ll get there eventually.

Advertisements

Micro Affirmations

In the last few months, I moved back to the states from abroad and started grad school. Moving is always emotional, so it’s been a whirlwind, but there have been so many awesome micro affirmations since I’ve landed in the states. Here are a few:

-Friends playing with my new short hair and saying how awesome it looks (I love when people play with my hair.)

-Shopping for men’s shoes and having the retail people treat me like just another customer.

-Coming out to friends I haven’t seen in awhile about my pronouns and having them be supportive right away and say things like, “I won’t be offended if you correct me.”

-Coming out to my professors about my pronouns in class and having them say, “Keep on me about them” and having my classmates just nod their heads and not even seem confused at all.

-Hearing one of the faculty members (who I didn’t tell directly, but heard through the grapevine) use my pronouns super casually and look at me for eye confirmation that she got them right.

-Telling someone I was single, and not having them follow up with awkward questions about when I was planning to get married, and why I didn’t have a boyfriend yet.

-Having my cousin-in-law give me a few of his bowties.

-Having a classmate show me a link to this queer meetup event and ask, “Do you want to go with me to this?”

I’m sure there have been others, but those are definitely some of the ones that stick out. Overall, happy to be back. And excited for this new chapter of my life.

How do you identify?

I was in a queer space this weekend and someone asked me how I identify for the first time ever.

My insides were super happy to be asked and feel safe enough to tell them. I think it was the first time I’ve “come out” as asexual verbally to someone I didn’t already know. And their reaction was super positive and they even asked me to explain a little bit about asexuality, so they could fully understand it.

I had some bad dreams the week before pride where I came out as asexual in lesbian spaces, and was mocked and laughed at. It was super unsettling to have those dreams. I think they reveal that I have a real fear that my asexuality won’t be accepted as valid.

I think this positive experience is helping me to have a little bit more confidence in my identity and ease my insecurities about it.

I also told them I was homoromantic and non-binary and they immediately asked if I preferred they/them pronouns. So that was super validating as well.

 

Gender Neutral Pronouns in Other Languages?

I’m grateful that my native language is English and it’s already got gender neutral pronouns. I’m curious about how genderqueer/ non-binary identifying people navigate their identity in other languages. Specifically Korean. I currently live in Korea and am not out about my preferred pronouns to any of my Korean friends or family. I don’t even know how I would ask them to refer to me in Korean.

In Korean, they don’t use pronouns a lot, so that’s pretty easy to avoid in everyday conversation. But language referencing family relationships is pretty gendered. For example if I have an older brother. The word I use for “older brother” is different depending on if I am a boy or a girl. What if you’re neither?

I’m not connected to the genderqueer community in Korea, although I know they exist because I ran into their booth at Seoul pride last week. I wonder how they have been dealing with this conundrum in their community.

Anyway, this just something I’ve been curious about lately. As a linguistics person, I’m always intrigued by languages and how they adapt to society. I’m sure every language has it’s own growing pains and snags related their respective genderqueer communities.

If you are someone who identifies as non-binary/ genderqueer and are immersed in a non-English community, in what ways have you been able to adapt your language to your identity?

Funeral: A Slam Poem

You
are cordially invited
to my funeral.
The dress code
is whatever the hell you want it to be
because
it’s also a celebration.

There’s gonna be a cake
that says
It’s  a They!
written
in rainbow colors
to defy
cisnormativity.

I actually really like the color blue.
But I don’t want
you
to mistake
me
for a boy.
So we’ll just use
all
the colors instead.

But before we eat the cake,
we’re gonna say a eulogy
for her pronouns,
hung up on a cross
alongside
she
and hers,
buried
with all her dresses and skirts
and lipstick
that she never even used.

They
will be resurrected
alongside
them
and theirs
dressed in pants, sneakers and a tie.

We
will listen to them speak their first word,
watch
them take their first step,
wipe
the tears from their eyes when they fall
and clap
when they continue to crawl.

Right now,
I
can barely crawl,
but I know
if I just keep crawling,
eventually
I will learn how to walk
and someday,
maybe,
I will even know
how to run.