halfthoughts

A gender journey

Tag: 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.

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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.