ProNouns & Their Use
I am the first to admit that I don’t understand the needs of others to add pronouns to their online bio’s, introductions, etc. But, that drove me to do a little research and uncover why they are so important to some people. Some people call them preferred pronouns, but they aren’t “preferred” for that person, they are their pronouns.
I am what I consider to be an average Joe, living in rural Britain, surrounded, in the main at least by other average Joe’s and for that matter Joanna’s who like me have never shared or felt the need to share their pronouns with anyone else.
I have not had, a single person share their pronouns with me face to face ever. I’ve seen a few on Twitter bio’s, but more in a virtue signalling sense on corporate bio’s rather than anyone for whom use of their correct pronoun was important.
This however doesn’t mean that pronouns aren’t important to others and after all, don’t we want to create a Country where everyone can live their best life, free from abuse, hurt or harm? If we work on the premise of respecting others then it follows that we should respect how they wish to be addressed, doesn’t it?
This can get complicated, as some people, trans or otherwise sometimes present differently to how they see themselves or wish to be addressed. I started off thinking that this wasn’t my problem, it was theirs, but that doesn’t really marry with my desire to let everyone live however they choose to.
For some people, how they are addressed matters. Just think about how upset parents of newborns get if you happen to get their babies gender wrong.
Speaking as someone who very often forgets a persons name within seconds of being introduced, the thought of also needing to remember their pronouns in order to avoid offending them fills me with dread. The notion of having to learn all 60 or 70 or however many genders there are today, along with their associated flags and signs is an impossible task for someone like me who let’s face it just doesn’t understand.
The first rule to remember is “you can no longer just assume and say what you see”.
At the heart of the issue is consideration for others.
I don’t recall when I was growing up seeing many gay people around, let alone trans or any other gender or sexuality. Does this therefore mean that they didn’t exist, or that they had to suppress their sexuality and gender from greater society to avoid abuse?
I would have thought that I would have noticed if the ratio’s were are they are today, even if they were actively suppressing their identity as such. Either greater liberal freedoms have allowed people the freedom to be who they want to be, or, if numbers of trans people have grown in recent years then surely something has changed that has triggered the growth in the number of people who aren’t born into the body they should be.
Please understand me, I am not accusing anyone of anything, blaming anyone, belittling anyone. But, what if we as a society have in the past, done something that has resulted in more and more people not feeling content in the skin they are born into?
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What if Pronouns are an indicator of a problem that we have created. I haven’t seen anyone talking about the possibility, anywhere. In the 1990’s were up to 10% of youngsters really walking around with ‘hidden’ gender dysphoria?
For example, what if, the introduction of the Pill 50+ years ago has led, to oestrogen levels in our water, food supply etc. that in turn has an effect on development to the point that there is a disconnect between body and brain. There is evidence that trans people presented in the US in the first half of the 20th century, to Johns Hopkins Hospital which was at the time the only medical facility for people questioning their sex and gender, which rather refutes that theory.
That does disprove my assumption about the Pill being a potential cause, but what if something else we have done as a people is causing that disconnect? How can we say with certainty that tinned food, car emissions, radio waves, food additives, mercury fillings or any other manmade influence isn’t causing an increase in gender dysphoria?
Looking in basic biological evolutionary terms, as a rule of thumb, a species normally evolves to reproduce more rather than less. Which in my overly simplified mind would indicate that gender dysphoria is a man made condition, not an evolutionary one.
The Influence of the Internet
One of the best things that the internet has given us is the ability to connect, to join together into groups with shared interests. If, with the arrival of the internet, the trans community had the opportunity for the first time to become a connected community, maybe that has actually had the biggest affect. Being able to connect with others has the ability to empower, to give franchise to how you feel, that you are not alone. That moment that you discover that you are not alone in your thoughts or feelings.
It therefore follows that the online trans community would grow in strength until, as has happened, it hits the mainstrean and normal Joe’s like me find ourselves needing to catch up, or at very least to understand.
Let’s face it, as you can probably tell, I don’t really understand. I can’t walk in the shoes of a trans person, I can’t begin to understand how it feels to have gender dysphoria. I can’t even do much to help you to live your best life, but, I can do my bit to make sure that I don’t contribute to you not living your worst life.
If all you need me to do it to remember your pronouns I can do that.
I wrote this piece not to demonstrate that I understand, but more to demostrate that I don’t. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to, it means that I don’t understand.
I know that I am not alone in not understanding. That doesn’t make me inconsiderate, if and when I mispronoun someone it won’t be intensional, or to cause offence, it’ll be accidental. For most people that don’t understand I suspect the same will apply.
If we could all cut each other a little slack I can’t help but think we could all get along a little better and create a more harmonious society.