Posted: November 29, 2010 in Bodies, Damned binaries, Gender, Personal
Tags: , , ,

I would have thought it would have been obvious to anyone why describing a sentient human being as merely [edit for erasing language] a ‘thing’ is problematic. Scratch that, unacceptable. Having a gender is not the sole thing on which humanity is predicated. I’m walking, living, breathing, talking, rather obviously human. So are all the other folks who have no gender, or have non-binary gender, or use words outside of the binary to describe their gender.

The ‘it’ pronoun isn’t a problem. Some folks use it, and that’s fine; I allow people I’m close to to use it occasionally as well. But ‘thing,’ used in the context she used it in [edited for erasing language], is somewhat different. It’s not even implicitly dehumanising – it’s totally explicit. And to say it when I had made a point of correcting someone who misgendered me – and the someone reacted in an excellent manner – grr.

I did have backup in my instant, ‘that’s binarist, cissexist and transphobic, asshole,’ reaction from others around me, but the person then tried to justify it. And you know what? It’s not my job to educate her about her bigotry. I didn’t feel up to it – so I didn’t do it. It’s rare I refuse to set someone right about that stuff, but I’m sick of it. I have to validate myself every couple of days, justify my existence, and I’m sick of it. With someone I don’t need to see much and don’t need to care about, I’m not wasting my energy when it’s low.

Next time though, if she does it again when I have the energy, I am not holding back.

  1. JKBC says:

    I see your point and have changed the wording slightly, as Kit Beard says that it is a Thing, but that Things are also People.


    The person who said this didn’t mean it as an identifier but as an insult, meant to invalidate my lack of gender, and I’m sick of her bullshit. I don’t know whether she’d be like this towards anyone without binary gender rather than just agender folks like me, although I think she is extremely entrenched in the binary.

    • *hugs JKBC if JKBC is the kind of person who appreciates physical affection*

      I’m getting increasingly frustrated by my mum choosing to call me “it” because she is (still, two years after I came out as trans) less comfortable calling me “he”. I’m getting fed up of my discomfort being treated as less important than hers.

      I empathise. And I hope you know that you are under no obligation to educate people if you don’t want to. I know it gets really hard to see that, when we’re lost in the sea of people demanding to be educated before they’ll treat us like human beings but sometimes it’s worth stepping back and appreciating that they are wrong. They shouldn’t (and don’t) need to be educated about the how and why of your identity and your life in order to treat you respectfully – they have a duty to treat you respectfully whether they understand you or not.

      • JKBC says:

        Thank you for the hug. *JKBC is indeed the kind of person who appreciates physical affection*

        That’s a bad thing for your own mother to be doing *hugs Theo if he is the kind of person who appreciates that*. After two years, she should be ‘getting it’ by now – and as your mother, I’d have hoped she would try to consider your discomfort.

        I know, in theory, all the stuff about not needing to educate people – in practice, it’s harder because it always seems like, surely ~this time~ they’ll understand and then… they say something shitty. It’s pretty frightening how easily people decide that they can shed respectful conduct simply because of difference.

  2. Pieface says:

    God she’s a t***.

    • JKBC says:

      I agree with you – has she been shitty to you too? Personally I thought she was okay at first until the gender thing came up – and I hope that she learns a bit more tolerance for difference before attempting to move on in life. I have told the other person that if he walks home with her again, not to bother calling out to me to join them. He apologised for the original mess-up again earlier, I told him it was her that was the problem.

      You don’t need to use asterisks.

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