it’s the start of a new semester and i’d like to get something important out of the way; my pronouns are “they/them/their.” this means that instead of to referring to me with gendered pronouns (“she/her/hers”, “he/him/his”), i’d like you to refer to me with “they/them/their” (non-gendered pronouns). this is because i’m a nonbinary trans* person; my gender is nonbinary.
you might already know what nonbinary gender is, but i want to make sure we share a basic understanding of it. a nonbinary gender is a gender that falls outside the woman OR man gender binary our culture commonly recognizes. a nonbinary person may be a man and a women, they may be neither a man nor a woman, they may experience different genders at different times, or they may not experience gender at all.
to be clear, i’m writing about gender/gender identity—not gender expression. gender is your understanding of yourself as a woman/man/nonbinary person, gender identity is how you name that understanding (ex. saying “i’m a woman/man/nonbinary person”), and gender expression is how you communicate your understanding with nonverbal cues (clothing, mannerisms, etc.) to reiterate, i’m writing about gender/gender identity.
the salient point is this: please don’t misgender me. please do what you can to get my pronouns right (i’m asking for effort, NOT for perfection) and please don’t refer to me as “a young lady/man/etc.”
if you do misgender me, i’ll correct you quickly and politely. please don’t make a big deal out of it and please don’t apologize profusely. please correct yourself and move on; i don’t want to disrupt conversations or class time. most people have a very difficult time getting my pronouns right and i don’t expect instant success. effort and good intentions will be more than enough.
when i tell people my pronouns are non-gendered (“they/them/their”), many people assume i’m offended by gendered pronouns when applied to other people. this is not the case. trying to get someone’s pronouns right is a sign of basic respect; it would be very rude of me to ask you to disrespect other people’s (gendered) pronouns. feel free to apply gendered pronouns to other people. just don’t apply them to me; they’re incorrect because i’m not a “she” or a “he”.
i know my personal pronouns and my gender may never come up in class, but i wanted to get this out of the way just in case. thank you for reading my letter. if you have any questions or concerns, we can discuss them via email, over the phone, or in person. see you in class!
* * *
and now i’m all freaked out and stuff. i was so fucking nervous while writing the letter, i actually had trouble typing. and my partner had to help me click “send” rather than “delete.”
only one teacher has replied so far; they said they’d do their best ‘n stuff– so that’s good. i’m still freaking out, though.
what would you think if you got a letter like this? any suggestions for how you’d change it? suggestions would help; i’ll have to send this to other people in the future and i want to make it better, if possible. thanks, peoples.
i need to go hug my sick tummy, now.