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UPDATE: We talked for about an hour, I actually hit all of my main points (including the statistic about detransitioners). She really didn't seem to care much at all for my experience (she said, "This is just your experience, but it shouldn't take away from what trans clients need too" ugh), but she seemed at least a little receptive to the point about trans kids who don't feel safe coming out being put on the spot. It ended with her saying that she still believes that normalizing asking for pronouns is best practice, but she did say that I gave her "some things to chew on." So who knows. I did tell her though that, in the future when people ask me, I'll be responding with "I feel uncomfortable answering that question." And if I'm pressed for how people should refer to me, I'll just tell them to use my name if they really can't figure it out lol.

This has been a long time coming, but today I have a 1:1 meeting with my supervisor about why asking pronouns does more harm than good. For context, I work in community mental health for at-risk youth, and this shit is rampant. I've posted a little about it previously, but on any given week, I can expect to be asked my pronouns at least 2-3 times, and frequently re-asked by people I've already had to tell.

I've already told her that, as a butch woman, not being recognized and accepted as my sex is what causes gender dysphoria, that butches are under extreme social pressure right now to transition, and that being asked all the time/frequently singled out in group meetings feels humiliating.

I know from the text conversation we had beforehand that she's planning on educating me about how it creates a more inclusive environment for trans-identified people. And because I have to play nice at my job, I'm planning on explaining that it only serves people who feel confident in receiving that attention--people who feel like they aren't ready to "come out," are questioning, or (especially in group settings) might not want to be exposed to a particular person in the room, these people are also all negatively impacted by being put on the spot.

I'm also going to try to explain that assuming sex-based pronouns encourages GNC kids to feel more confident in expanding/breaking down society's view of gender roles, which (if I feel brave enough to go here) would greatly benefit kids who might otherwise feel like they have to transition--especially given that 88% of transed kids detransition by their mid-20s, most of whom are gay or lesbian.

Wish me luck! And let me know if you think there are any other good points that I can (safely!) bring up!

EDIT: I can't go the religion route, unfortunately. I live in one of the most TRA-friendly cities in the United States, and our mental healthcare system is soaked in it. We currently ask "preferred pronouns" on our intake forms, for crying out loud. Trust when I say I wouldn't get anywhere, other than most likely fired or pressured out of my position.

UPDATE: We talked for about an hour, I actually hit all of my main points (including the statistic about detransitioners). She really didn't seem to care much at all for my experience (she said, "This is just *your* experience, but it shouldn't take away from what trans clients need too" ugh), but she seemed at least a little receptive to the point about trans kids who don't feel safe coming out being put on the spot. It ended with her saying that she still believes that normalizing asking for pronouns is best practice, but she did say that I gave her "some things to chew on." So who knows. I did tell her though that, in the future when people ask me, I'll be responding with "I feel uncomfortable answering that question." And if I'm pressed for how people should refer to me, I'll just tell them to use my name if they really can't figure it out lol. This has been a long time coming, but today I have a 1:1 meeting with my supervisor about why asking pronouns does more harm than good. For context, I work in community mental health for at-risk youth, and this shit is *rampant.* I've posted a little about it previously, but on any given week, I can expect to be asked my pronouns at least 2-3 times, and frequently re-asked by people I've already had to tell. I've already told her that, as a butch woman, not being recognized and accepted as my sex is what *causes* gender dysphoria, that butches are under extreme social pressure right now to transition, and that being asked all the time/frequently singled out in group meetings feels humiliating. I know from the text conversation we had beforehand that she's planning on educating me about how it creates a more inclusive environment for trans-identified people. And because I have to play nice at my job, I'm planning on explaining that it only serves people who feel confident in receiving that attention--people who feel like they aren't ready to "come out," are questioning, or (especially in group settings) might not want to be exposed to a particular person in the room, these people are also all negatively impacted by being put on the spot. I'm also going to try to explain that assuming sex-based pronouns encourages GNC kids to feel more confident in expanding/breaking down society's view of gender roles, which (if I feel brave enough to go here) would greatly benefit kids who might otherwise feel like they have to transition--especially given that 88% of transed kids *detransition* by their mid-20s, most of whom are gay or lesbian. Wish me luck! And let me know if you think there are any other good points that I can (safely!) bring up! EDIT: I can't go the religion route, unfortunately. I live in one of the most TRA-friendly cities in the United States, and our mental healthcare system is *soaked* in it. We currently ask "preferred pronouns" on our intake forms, for crying out loud. Trust when I say I wouldn't get anywhere, other than most likely fired or pressured out of my position.

53 comments

Use plain language and don't over explain. I think what you've proposed is TMI - I would stick to the basics. "I don't feel comfortable being singled out in this way" or "I would prefer if we did not pressure staff to share information they may not be comfortable with" or "Women face the risk of stereotype threat when pressured to announce their sex in work settings." I don't think you need to go into a lot of theory here.

Maybe the point about people who don't feel ready to "come out" would be good, too? I can kind of see it like this: someone might be questioning their "gender identity" and might be considering a "pronoun change" or whatnot, but aren't ready to go public about it. A pronoun circle kind of forces them to "out" themselves. Idk, it might be helpful because it does frame it as concern about "trans" people(so they can't accuse you of "transphobia") and it is a valid point, even to people who are deep in the cult. But it also plays into the cult a little bit, so that's why I'm not too sure.

[–] Hera 37 points

it creates a more inclusive environment for trans-identified people.

Ask her why creating a more "inclusive" environment for "trans" people trumps an inclusive enviornment for butch women.

Not sure if this would be allowed, but trans ideology encourages kids and teens to dissociate from their body. This immensely increases feelings of anxiety and depression, even in "non-dysphoric" individuals. Thus, it shouldn't be the burden of the healthcare providers to affirm this delusion as it literally goes against ideas such as mindfulness and self-acceptance.

"Ask her why creating a more "inclusive" environment for "trans" people trumps an inclusive enviornment for butch women."

That is brilliant. Redefine inclusivity.

"Do we just mean to be inclusive towards one group? At the expense of others?"

[–] Tiramisuomi 24 points Edited

I've already told her that, as a butch woman, not being recognized and accepted as my sex is what causes gender dysphoria, that butches are under extreme social pressure right now to transition, and that being asked all the time/frequently singled out in group meetings feels humiliating.

Why is that not enough?

I assume sadly, it's because as you suspect, she's going to push the issue of why your feelings don't matter and theirs do.

Let us know what happens! We're here no matter what.

Tell them it "outs" people who are not ready to be out, and thus intrudes on trans people's rights to privacy. ;-)

[–] SecondSkin 14 points Edited

This ^

And show her the Yogyakarta principles when you do this. Which are widely adopted by many countries and one basically says that no one should be pressured to come out about their sexual orientation or gender identity before they are ready. (Iirc). Tell her pushing pronouns pushes people to either lie and remain closeted or come out before they are ready. Even just encouraging pronouns does this, because of most people opt for it to be kind then those who don’t will be assumed to be closet trans. And suggest it’s offensive for those not part of the oppressed group trans to use pronouns to virtue signal because it’s co-opting trans peoples experience. Or appropriating it. Or some such nonsense.

(Of course it should be don’t force me to believe in your mythical culty religion essence, but the above will be listened to more readily imho).

*if you are in the UK you could also ask to see the equality impact assessment, which is evidence that the company has fulfilled it’s public sector equality duty to consider the needs of all protected characteristics. They need to show they have considered the impact of adopting pronouns on people with disabilities like autism (who could struggle with rigid grammar rules -rightly so because grammar is rigid), people who speak English as a second language (which could come under race because in the equality impact that includes migrants from non English speaking countries), those who hold GC beliefs (ty to Maya) and possibly those who hold other religious beliefs (because their religion likely says sex can’t be changed) (it can’t but knowing facts are real is not a pc🤷🏼‍♀️).

That's a viciously good angle, especially with a little "forcing them to lie about their gender identity when they're not ready to be outed is what's doing the real harm"

Yep, they don't care about your feelings these days, but if you can make it about the trans, suddenly they listen again.

Or forces them to reify that they are the “wrong gender” lest they receive a torrent of inquiry, attention, and pressure.

Lean heavy on the “many have come to me in private to share their concerns”

It also is an announcement of a political view.

Many progressives would say that it shouldn't be political to voice support for trans people, of course, and we could go on a big tangent addressing that, but the fact remains that this is a highly contentious political topic right now.

I'd compare it to supporting abortion rights. I do not think the right to choose should be remotely political--it should be a forgone conclusion that a woman has the right to abortion at any time and for any reason--but the reality is that it is a highly contentious political topic. Expecting employees to include a personal affirmation of the right to choose in their email signature is flatly inappropriate.

[–] Lilith 1 points Edited

contradicting the political views being pushed from the top-down in a company can only hurt your career. You're likely to be forced out and blacklisted. Right or not, no one is going to achieve anything good from complaining about the company's politics.

One more thought. Inclusion is not a value. It's an action. Inclusion can have negative, positive or neutral outcomes. We want to exclude sex offenders from getting a teacher's licensee, for example

I read a fantastic essay years ago called something like "in praise of discrimination and judgment." And the author's point is that for a whole generation, we've been conditioned that non-discriminating and being non-judgmental are prime values to which we should all aspire. His argument is that actually, discriminating on the basis of safety or competence are good things; what's not is discriminating on the basis of sex or race etc. If you find out that someone is being sexual around children, eg, you should absolutely judge the hell out of them; and if you know someone has a track record of making poor decisions, it's not a bad thing but in fact sensible to be "judgmental" in terms of vetting their decisions before acting on them.

Well I think it went as well as we could expect it to go in this current climate. I’m glad to hear she actually said she would think about your points!

Another point: Stereotype threat. There have been many studies showing that reminding women/girls that they are women/girls right before asking them to do a task that women are stereotypically seen as “bad” at (math, navigation, leadership etc) makes them do worse on it. Makes them conform to the stereotype. Pronoun declarations are nothing but that.

What a good point. I hadn’t thought of that argument against pronouns before, but it is a good one

[–] Itzpapalotl 10 points Edited

As a mental health patient, I would feel irritated/alienated/trapped/anxious/angry on any given day if asked my pronouns or told someone else’s.

Pronoun/gender shit can feel awfully aggressive to female patients who find gender ideology an attack on our rights. It’s basically broadcasting misogynistic values.

If I was on a ward/in an appointment/support group, I would be incredibly distressed if those who were caring for me started spouting this bullshit. Healthcare should be science based.

Maybe explain to him that gender is unquantifiable and divisive, we don’t bring religion into healthcare for a reason, because what is “inclusive” to some is upsetting and alienating to others. You wouldn’t ask service users to state their religion/say grace/pray 5 times a day or pledge allegiance to a god they don’t believe in.

Also, personally I have no interest in doctors/nurses who pretend I’m biologically indistinguishable from a male.

Given the video of that medical student who bragged about getting a needle stick wrong on a patient who laughed at her pronoun pin, I'd be actively afraid if I had a care provider who aggressively pushed that nonsense. What if, exhausted or drugged, I let slip that I think it's bullshit, while physically vulnerable and powerless?

Inclusivity needs to be inclusive for all. It can't be based on the needs of just one group. If it is, then you haven't made yourself more inclusive, you've simply brought one group in and pushed another group out. That sounds like factionalism to me, not inclusivity.

What strength I have, I lend to you. We stand with you and we know we are right.

This whole "asking for your pronouns" nonsense is more than a mere nuisance. It is an impertinence, something that crosses a boundary.

Sometimes it's rude not to assume something about someone. For example, we always assume people know the earth revolves around the sun even if they aren't astrophysicists. If you let people know you think they might think otherwise when they actually don't, they will now think you see them as dimwits.

I told a story to a friend once, and partly because of her lack of knowledge (if I give her the benefit of doubt) but also because she was tactless, she managed to ask a question that let me know she assumed a relative of mine was on the wrong side of the war. And it gave me pause to think she assumed this about my family and it also made me wonder if she said it just to be cruel. Because when I told the story, I told it with pride and awe of my relative. Needless to say, we are no longer friends.

Some things should not be asked.

Sometimes it's rude not to assume something about someone. For example, we always assume people know the earth revolves around the sun even if they aren't astrophysicists. If you let people know you think they might think otherwise when they actually don't, they will now think you see them as dimwits.

I like that. If I meet you at work, and don't assume you know the basic things you need to know to get hired, it's actually very insulting, not kind or respectful. If I am obviously a woman, it's not actually kind or respectful to ask my pronouns.

Also, while we've seen men with bears and wearing men's clothing insist they're TIMs, has anyone seen the opposite? Are there really female Philip Bunces, wearing dresses and lipstick and using feminine names while insisting they're he/hims? Sadly these days you cannot assume an obvious man "identifies" as one, but while TIFs are irritating, the ones I've seen so far all at least make a superficial effort to look like men.

Not sure about "he/hims" but I've encountered several women "non binaries", including, one yesterday I noticed working at the Starbucks down the street wearing a "they/them" pin, in full makeup, typical women's clothing, etc.

Sigh, fair point, I'd forgotten about the enbies. Is that proof that they're the most persecuted of all?

Are there really female Philip Bunces, wearing dresses and lipstick and using feminine names while insisting they're he/hims?

Yes, actually. Mostly in the teenage girl set - there's a few really sad reddit groups showing it.

OP, are you a lesbian?

If so, you could say that repeated pronoun questioning is homophobic. To target you specifically is harassment.

As a lesbian, you are being targeted with repeated undermining if your womanhood, and they are making it clear they don’t see you as a real woman.

At this point she will definitely try to “educate” you that no, that’s no what they’re doing, no one denies your womanhood, they are trying to be respectful of you and everyone else.

Respond that you don’t appreciate your lived experience as a lesbian being dismissed.

I imagine she’ll respond with her credentials as an LGBT or an “ally”. Keep bring it back to “I am telling you that this relentless questioning of my womanhood is homophobic, and I am experiencing distress because of this harassment”

She will probably try to “educate” you about , yes, this distress you feel is amplified 100-fold for transpeople, that’s why we support them with pronouns for everyone. Tell them that whatever they want to do to supposedly “support” trans people, that’s no reason to subject a butch lesbian to homophobia and constant invalidation (it’s good to slip in their language sometimes).

Good luck with it all.

You might need a badge saying “Do not ask me my pronouns”. If anyone asks why, say being asked causes you distress.

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