corrections & callouts

related to this post

i also try and feel out or ask if and how people want pronoun / name / lable corrections to be handled

i know some trans and genderqueer folks really like other people in their space to firmly and immediately correct a person who uses a wrong word in reference to them - it makes them feel like someone has their back and is willing to put effort into making sure the right words get used more consistently

but also, i know for myself, when i looked less normatively and adultly male - a lot of the time being around when people corrected someone who had used an incorrect pronoun or other identifier in reference to me was a painful and public drawing out of something i wished hadn’t happened, especially if the corrector was in righteous callouty mode

i’m shy and i was hella shy back then, and making me and my body and my gender the center of attention - and potentially the center of some amount of confusion and conflict and discussion - was pretty terrible for me, and a lot of people just kind of assumed that being a good trans ally meant they need to do that

but actually, no

i much prefered when people let it slide when i was around and then kindly and breifly addressed it later if the person who fucked up was someone i’d be likely to interact with again; some people don’t want wrong identifers commented on at all, which is also valid

it’s not always appropriate to ask


Q: So when I don’t know how a person identifies, I should always ask? A: The Easy Answer is “yes,” but I’m not going to give you that one right now, because I think you can handle the Real Answer. The Real Answer is that in a lot of situations, the most respectful thing you can do is not need to ask. Outside of Queer World, we know a lot about people just because they fit the same story that we’re telling. […] If we meet a man named John in a suit at a party, we can usually assume that John has a penis and that he likes girls with vaginas. There’s nothing wrong with these assumptions when everyone fits the story. They stop being okay, though, when some people don’t. Inside Queer World, we try to stop assuming. […] The most respectful way to get someone’s real story is to listen, not to ask. If you meet someone new, and you can’t tell what their gender, sexuality, or relationship story is is right away, ask yourself how much it really matters right that moment to know the truth. Find a way to sit with the idea that maybe, this identity is a personal matter that they don’t want to talk about right then. Find a way to be okay with that. We don’t get all of these answers from each other, either, and we’re okay with that. Then again, if it’s genuinely relevant, or if the person in question is ready and willing to field questions, go ahead and ask. Just be prepared to accept whatever they tell you, even if it doesn’t quite make sense to you, and be very respectful about it all.”

Sarah Dopp, from her Frequently Asked Questions about Gender and Sexuality in Doppland. […] (via bespangled)

I’m interested in this because I see a lot of people ragging on other people being uncomfortable asking about pronouns etc and dismissing it as laziness?  & obvs there is a lot of that going around.  but on the other hand, for a lot of people/situations — it’s not always appropriate to ask — it’s something you can legitimately feel weird about doing at all times — it gets wearing for people to constantly field questions — and I also think sometimes “not assuming” can cross over into “wilfully obtuse” and often “degendering” (agendered or nonbinary =/= gender neutral — I would actually argue that there’s no such thing as truly gender neutral language).   thoughts? 

maybe more later, but for the time being:

(a) the queer world vs straight world stuff made me feel icky, and also is wrong

(b) i’m probably not really what would qualify as ‘stealth’ because while people who are not my friends or old acquaintances just know me as a (pretty shy, very small, but assumed cis) guy, most of my current social group either knew me as trans before i looked as normatively male as i do now, or are themselves trans people that i outed myself to because it felt like a useful point of connection, or were told of my trans status by loose lips belonging to folks in one of the other two groups


one thing i really really like about being read as pretty normativly male-sexed and (faggy-)man-gendered in a general social context - esp in activisty gay and queer spaces - is that ‘trans allies’ don’t usually read me as trans and don’t make this big obnoxious production out of asking how i identify

it’s just

it’s gross and it made me feel gross when it happened to me, especially when they did it in public - i left those interactions often not feeling at all ‘affirmed’ but rather feeling like the object of people trying to show off publicly how good about trans stuff or whatever they were

i felt like i was supposed to produce an entertaining, consumable narrative about my gender* for them to hear and feel, uh, enlightened or something by

so: i think the advice to listen more and ask less is great, and if i really really feel like i need to ask, i keep it relevant to what i need to do for this person, instead of asking them to explain [justify, narrativize …] themselves to me (“are there any particular pronouns i should use some or all of the time to talk about you?” vs “how do you identify?”)

esp because i am read as a cis guy or a trans guy with a lot of passing privilege, both of which give me a certain amount of privilege over folks who get read as more ambiguous, regardless of whether they’re binary-IDed or not

* and, tbh, prob not my sex ‘cause that wasn’t usually the way a lot of cis people who are stuck on making themselves out as great radical trans allies are willing to process trans …

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