Nouns and pronouns

One of the minor weird things about having a different name and pronouns to the ones you were assigned at birth is that they sometimes feel like an odd fit with other aspects of who you are. For example, I mentioned being my son’s dad in my last post; on the radio the other day I laughed as I recounted my daughter saying affectionately but exasperatedly, “Dad! Why are you like this?” after one dad joke too many. To some eyes and ears, I know, the juxtaposition of “dad” and “woman” is weird. I know because sometimes it feels jarring to me too. But just because I’m not a man doesn’t mean I’m not a dad. A dad’s pronouns don’t have to be he and him.

Kids get this, so for example I recently overheard my daughter telling a friend “oh, that’s just my dad, she’s playing a video game”.  But many adults apparently don’t, or perhaps more accurately won’t.

It was international pronouns day yesterday, a day that could just as easily be entitled “come on, don’t be a dick to people day”, and I saw lots of people claiming that in much the same way trans women apparently don’t have pelvises, they don’t have pronouns. She/her, he/him, they/them weren’t for them. They didn’t need such silliness. They are too sensible for such political correctness and they don’t have any time for people who cared about such things.

I bolded their pronouns to help them out. I’ll stop now.

Everybody has pronouns. Without them, speech and writing would be awfully cumbersome: we’d have to say things like “Uncle David called to say that Uncle David wasn’t going to be around this weekend. Uncle David is off to do a thing and Uncle David won’t be back until Monday. I’m not sure where Uncle David is going. I forgot to ask Uncle David.”

If you don’t think you have any pronouns, chances are it’s because people don’t habitually get yours wrong. The kind of guy who goes on the internet to damn people who include pronouns in Twitter bios would probably lose his shit pretty quickly if people started routinely addressing him or describing him as she, her, madam or miss.

I mean, you would, wouldn’t you? Imagine going through life being misgendered every single day: in shops, on the phone, at social things, at work…

Yes, I am making a face right now.

The same people who would be the first to lose their shit if people started using the wrong pronouns for them – in many cases, people who lose their shit if anybody misgenders their pets – expect others to put up with it, even when it’s actually malicious. Why should they have to treat anybody else with the same respect they demand for their dog? They’ll call people whatever pronouns they damn well like!

Once again we’re in “It doesn’t happen to me personally so nothing should change” territory with a side order of “but mummy! I don’t want to be nice to other people!” It takes virtually no effort to be a little more considerate of others, but sadly for some that’s still too much to ask.