Our custom at Pizza Klatch is to start our lunch time support with check ins. Checking in involves saying your first name, your preferred gender pronouns and sharing a high and a low from the previous week.
When it was my turn today, I said my preferred pronouns were ‘He/Him’. Previously, I’d been saying ‘They/Them or He/Him”. Why the change today? As it happens, I stated my preference before really thinking about it. Afterward, walking back to work in the rain, I had a chance to suss out the reason.
I’ve been trying, very carefully, to thread the balancing point between what I like and what I think is correct. If asked which third person pronouns most accurately describe me, I would say ‘They/Them’ because plural neutral pronouns reflect my plurality. However, if the question is ‘Which third person pronouns do I prefer?’ the answer is ‘He/Him’.
In the past few days, I’ve started to visualize my gender in a different way, which I will share at some point in the form of a graphic. One impact or result of this shift is that I am looking at everything around gender as though it were more of a buffet of choices than a set of results based on an external rule set. One of the buffet items is “third person pronouns used to refer to me”. And when I get to that place in the buffet, when I think about what feels right, what I like the best, it’s male pronouns. Male pronouns and a lot of male identity/role terms feel better, they sound better, they fit through the keyholes of my ears easily and without a lot of uncomfortable jiggling.
I briefly thought about adopting a neutral third person pronoun set such as ‘Ze/Zir/Zirs’ or ‘Ze/Hir/Hirs’ and I’m not counting that out as a future option for some of areas of my life, but I’m not there yet. So on the question of “What are my preferred gender pronouns?”, I can answer without hesitation, ‘He/Him/His’. The exceptions are 1) very specific, intimate situations with lovers who are very aware of the times when calling me ‘girl/she/her/woman’ is welcome, 2) areas of my life where I am not out as genderqueer and 3) at home, where I am referred to as ‘Mommy/she/her’. If you’re someone who reads this blog, and you meet me in the flesh somewhere, I would appreciate you incorporating this information into the way you communicate with others about me. For at least one of you in particular, this may be interesting since you also interface with my family, so we can talk about that over beers.
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