Like the vast majority of people, I used to politely use whatever pronouns people wanted me to use. That goes right back to my teens in the 1970s, when I knew gay people, and camp entertainers, who were male, but liked to be called ‘she’. Why would one not go along with it?
As to me, I don’t claim ownership of any pronouns but I do have preferred adverbs. If you are describing my actions, I require that you use the adverbs ‘gracefully’ and ‘intelligently’. Not using them in relation to my actions is really rude. It’s denying me validation. It’s denying my personal vision of how I am.
Yes, it really is that cheeky, telling people what words to use when they talk *about* you. Telling people how you want to be addressed is one thing but instructing them on which words to use when talking about you is a particularly overt kind of bullying.
it also lays *you* open to bullying. If you put your faith and your confidence in others speaking about you the way you want them to, you are handing them a weapon to hurt you with. School kids sense this, and they use it.
Like many people, I’ve been pondering this ever since I realised how the ‘transwomen are women’ campaign constantly shifts its ground, pursuing any form of words women find that allow them to talk about sex, and declaring those forms transphobic.
That is a deliberate sabotage tactic, and requires a response. By all means, let’s call people what they want socially, when we’re talking *to* them but when we’re trying to debate, particularly when we’re trying to talk about sex based rights, I am going to use pronouns according to what sex I perceive people to be. It’s the only way to talk clearly, and is therefore necessary. It’s also our right, under several clauses in Human Rights law, and was newly confirmed in 2021 both by the Forstater case and the Harry Miller case.