dear binary trans* guy who complained about referring to people of unknown gender with singular “they”

[TW: ranting, rage, super righteous nonbinary rage, binarist asshattery]

fuck off. just fuck off. you know perfectly well that people frequently use singular “they” to refer to people of unknown gender and/or pronoun preferences. insisting that singular “they” now refers only to people of nonbinary gender denies the diversity among nonbinary people; because of our diversity, we need singular “they” to mean anything and everything, including unknown gender. furthermore, it erases the lives of cis queer people who need to use singular “they” to conceal the gender of their partner in order to stay safe. it’s also just bullshit cuz most people who speak english frequently use singular “they” to refer to people of unknown gender and/or pronouns preferences. it’s embedded in the fucking language. [eta: it might be a north american thing. i dunno. but it’s pretty fucking common, right?]

and when you told that room full of cis people (and various trans* cats) that they should be able to just guess your (gendered) pronouns, that was shitty. fucking thanks. cis people already misgender me constantly; it still hurts even when i correct them immediately. so fucking thanks for encouraging them to continue guessing at my pronouns.

the fuck did you even mean by that, anyway? “you should just be able to guess! don’t i just look like a dude?” are you seriously telling cats that men look a certain way? i suppose you think women also look a certain way, right? what about nonbinary folks? do we all look a certain way, too? you oppressive fuck. people look however the fuck they please, regardless of gender. you have no right to stipulate through implication that a person must prove their gender by looking a certain way. cuz holy fuck, doesn’t that sound familiar.

and nice fucking double standard. you think it’s ok for people to guess gendered pronouns but not nongendered pronouns? cuz, what, nongendered pronouns are extra gross or something? just admit you’re a binarist assclown and go the fuck home.

you spouted all this shit with nonbinary cats in the room and none of us did more than squirm about it cuz we didn’t wanna step on your sacred manly toes, but fuck you. fuck you and your binarist shit.

i’m not gonna call you “they”; i know your pronouns are “he/him/his.” that’s not what i’m talking about. but  i will never again listen and squirm while a binary trans* person spews binarist asshattery. singular “they” is just fine for anyone whose gender and/or pronoun preferences are unknown. stop shitting all over nonbinary people.

also, i didn’t say “fuck you” enough; fuck you, you fucking dudebro.

sincerely, a nonbinary trans*person who’s done with your shit

*   *   *
yep, i feel better. whew. that’s been weighing me down for awhile.

i actually totes don’t hate this person, but i’ve been seething about this for months. i haven’t seen him in a long time and i don’t know if i’ll ever see him again, so i decided to write a rant instead of talking to him in person. and now i’m not mad anymore, so yay.

i really hope my next post is all lighthearted and stuff. maybe i’ll write about unicorns in space.

5 responses to “dear binary trans* guy who complained about referring to people of unknown gender with singular “they”

  1. I just love it when people guess my gender. Ma’am/sir/uh/miss/uh can I help you?
    I recently wrote a piece on the third person singular and how much it annoys me. I do believe that people should get to choose their pronouns, and that you can learn them along with their name.
    Regarding assholes, whether cis or trans, you can never say fuck off enough. They will always think that they are more authentic than you and that you are either confused or afraid to “go all the way”.

  2. ‘Regarding assholes, whether cis or trans, you can never say fuck off enough. They will always think that they are more authentic than you and that you are either confused or afraid to “go all the way”.’

    yep. this is true. also, whoa, sorry i didn’t approve your comment earlier; i didn’t see it! oops.

  3. Michael Greedley

    Not arguing with anything you say, but people with binary gender are not automatically assholes. We actually experience life that way, and it is nice to be validated by the pronouns that match our experience. It is as heartbreaking to me to be called ‘she’ as it is to you to not be called “they”. I don’t understand why binary gender is such an object of scorn and hatred. It is how I really feel about myself. I don’t know how the fellow you were aiming this post at treated you to your face, but I would call you any pronoun you wanted if you told me. But I couldn’t possibly be expected to know that you were non binary trans and wanted gender neutral pronouns just by looking, and I wouldn’t assume. I sure as fuck wouldn’t just guess, that IS a lousy idea. I would ask, what is the best way to respect you? The best way to respect me is not to pour withering scorn on my binary trans gender. My feelings are really hurt right now. Why is binary bad? If we are respectful to each other, isn’t that enough? Do we have to be the same?

  4. hi, michael! this article isn’t directed at you or at binary trans* people in general. it’s directed at this particular guy and nobody else. sorry for the confusion! i definitely don’t wanna hurt your feelings. :(

    you sound pretty awesome. basically, it sounds like we totes agree with each other. binary is not “bad” and we don’t have to be the same.

    i never expect anybody to know i’m nonbinary just by looking at me. thing is, this guy knew he was speaking to a bunch of nonbinary cats, we’d spoken to him before about some of the binarist shit he says during his presentations, and he said it anyway. and we just squirmed.

    this article is just something i needed to get off my chest by writing about it. and it worked! i haven’t been thinking about it at all, so yay.

    but yeah. this article is basically an unsent letter to a specific person.

    take care! <3 also, you're always welcome around here, cat.

  5. Digging up ancient history here reading your long-resolved thing, but just found your blog, so hey. Swinging by to say:

    “They” as gender indeterminate (ie, not necessarily neutral per se, but rather unstated) singular is indeed in common use here in England too, even by people who have never pondered such matters as gender issues.

    “If I see someone I know in the street, I say hi to them” <- clearly singular, but as the person in the sentence is hypothetical, we don't know their gender, so we say "them".

    "A friend said hi to me yesterday, and I greeted them in return" <- still clearly singular, this time the gender is known to the speaker, but the speaker for whatever reason didn't include it in the sentence. Their (hehe) friend could be male, female, neither, whatever. This sentence would not sound odd to an English native, not even to a white middle-class cis-male hetero Daily Mail-reading conservative pensioner who hasn't heard of Tumblr, let alone darkened the digital doorways of such blogs as these. Would just assume that the friend's gender wasn't relevant to the context, if they (yep) even noticed what pronoun was used in the first place.

    Fun fact: I spill random information about my areas of expertise when I'm tired (my academic background is linguistics and it's late here).

    Unrelated: Love your blog / style / etc!

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