activism Politics women

A note on pronouns that contradicts a previous post I did on pronouns

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.

activism Politics prejudice women

My pronouns are I/me

For most of my life, feminists have called upon women to resist stating their ‘gender’ in work situations, to discourage sex harassment and/or discrimination.

Many public authority jobs used to be advertised and processed in a sex-blind and race-blind manner, to avoid discrimination in recruitment.

Then someone decided the way to check for and correct discrimination was to ask people to state their sex, race, disabilities etc for an anonymised data-list so they could check for discrimination.

I suppose that was okay, except that it worried people who remembered Nazis collecting such info and/or using those records when they set about their systematic attack on ‘undesirables’.

But it also got people used to the idea that any and every form they filled in would ask those things. And then the whole sex and gender thing got mixed up, so that nobody knows what it means now, when you are asked to state your sex, or ‘assigned’ sex or gender, as though it’s something handed out by the quarter master, or gender identity, a thing that may or may not exist, because you just have to choose from whatever oddities the form you’re currently filling in has gone for.

And now, the government has put out a form for people to fill in to do a consultation on issues deeply connected to those features, and it asks you for information about ‘the gender you were assigned at birth’ – a complex and contentious idea that many people roundly disagree with.

And now, in their workplaces, people are being asked to state ‘their’ pronouns on everything, so that women who want to follow the rules our generation lived by either have to hide their sex by plumping for some made-up pronoun, or they have to advertise their sex on everything they write, say and do.

If they come for you, tell them your pronouns are I/me.

If they want to talk about themselves, they can say whatever they like. If they want to talk about you, tell them to use whatever pronouns they like – it’s supposed to be a free country.

As for me, I am waiting for our culture to rediscover those oh-so important words, ‘we’ and ‘us’ because, way, way more urgently than anyone wants their unique identity to be validated, we need to relearn how to work together to solve our many, urgent problems.