How To Survive a Pronoun Circle
“Hi, I’m Lydia, and I would prefer that you choose your own language when referring to me. That is what you will do anyway whether or not I sanction the pronouns you will use. You will read me as male or female (you already have) or you won’t know. Mercifully I *won’t actually be here* when you talk about me, so if I’m in the fringe cases where it’s not clear, you could always check with someone and not embarrass both of us while you’re at it”
Hm. Maybe not.
Say there’s a scenario in which people are introducing themselves *with pronouns*. You don’t want to do this because you don’t of course “have” pronouns. But you also don’t particularly feel like pointing out to a bunch of strangers that you don’t and they don’t either. It’s awkward, explaining to a bunch of people who may well think they are practicing an important Socialist rite that they are literally treating language like real estate and it makes zero sense.
Let’s say it’s a professional context, or a networking thing, or a party you intended to be far more pissed at before flouncing out of.
So you have to play, but you are genuinely concerned that if you utter the words “I’m Lydia, She/her” you’ll start laughing and won’t be able to stop. You also don’t want to say anything that amounts in any way to “I find this whole thing - and by extension you - weird, offensive and fucked up. I’d mention that my rapist didn’t seem to have difficulty telling what sex I was but it seems to make everyone super-duper uncomfortable for some reason”.
I give you:
“I’m Lydia, I prefer your choice of pronoun.”
I think that’s the winner.
You might get a few really panicky people who think you’ve said something Profound calling you “Xir”, and even less likely, the possibility of a few people deliberately mis-sexing you because they think it will “burn” as opposed to deeply amuse you. But mostly people will just defer to your sex.
No mortifying lapse in personal integrity.
No horrifying language rent-seeking need apply.
18th May 2021