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(142 Posts)
VincentVanLowe Thu 25-Feb-16 23:15:31

Can mumsnet please clarify, will posts be deleted if they do not use a person's 'preferred pronouns'?

The idea that people can choose their pronouns is very new and specific to the ideology of transgender activists in English speaking Western culture. I do not share this ideology and I use pronouns in the generally accepted, historically consistent, biologically accurate way. As far as I am aware it is not illegal to use pronouns this way, and certainly the general population, medical doctors, academics and other groups continue to use pronouns in the usual way rather than in the way currently popular amongst trans activists and tumblr bloggers. So - is it acceptable for us to choose not to use 'preferred pronouns' if it conflicts with our own ethical frameworks?

Many thanks.

KP86 Thu 25-Feb-16 23:34:11

Or you could just not post on that thread?

Are you saying that if your 'ethics' don't agree with someone's preference you should be able to call them any sort of name which historically was acceptable but now isn't?

I think you are being deliberately offensive.

FloraFox Thu 25-Feb-16 23:37:20

I agree with Vincent that we should be able to choose whether to use a person's preferred pronouns. This policy forces us to be dishonest that we believe a person to be male or female. I'm very concerned about politics that require us to state things we don't believe. That's a very dangerous path to start on.

FloraFox Thu 25-Feb-16 23:38:23

"any sort of name"? I think you mean the name that accords with who the person actually is.

dorade Thu 25-Feb-16 23:40:34

I don't think Vincent is looking to call people 'any sort of name'.

Just to call men 'he' and to call women 'she', as bizarrely radical as that might be in 2016.

Perhaps it is deliberately offensive for certain members of one sex to appropriate the pronouns of the other sex?

KP86 Thu 25-Feb-16 23:43:31

But if the person identifies with that gender, how is it not just good manners to reflect that's their preferred way to be known?

Would you deliberately call someone Mrs when you know they prefer Ms or Miss?

I can't see how someone else's gender preference actually has any effect on anyone else? Besides having to add or subtract a letter when making a written reference.

Little difference to me but a HUGE difference to the person affected.

CrayonShavings Thu 25-Feb-16 23:43:42

I agree with Vincent. It's endorsing a belief in innate gender to call a man 'she' against my will.

dorade Thu 25-Feb-16 23:48:50

Mrs, Miss and Ms are all salutations applied to women and depend on marital status or indeed a wish to not indicate marital status. They are not comparable with implying a man is a woman or vice versa.

He and she are pronouns that indicate biological sex. Biological sex is immutable. If someone told you they were a cat, would you accept it and address them as such?

VincentVanLowe Thu 25-Feb-16 23:53:12

I'm not looking to call anyone names, or to be deliberately offensive. I would like to know what is acceptable on mumsnet so I can avoid getting my posts deleted.

I think it is important to be able to express myself clearly using words as they are generally understood and in the way that they have been and continue to be used throughout our culture and beyond. So - 'he' and 'him' for male people, and 'she' and 'her' for female people. The common way of using pronouns is very clear and really not controversial outside of that particular subculture.

VincentVanLowe Fri 26-Feb-16 00:00:38

Dorade makes good points about the difference between pronouns and titles.

But to add to that - I use Ms but with regularity am called Miss and Mrs on the phone, in mail, and in person. I still come across forms that do not include Ms at all. It irritates me because I do not think I should be titled according to if/how im partnered with a man. However I do not think anyone should be legally or otherwise compelled to use Ms for me. I'd like to be able to say why I prefer it and hope to convince them, and I've been hoping and waiting for years for Ms to become the standard title for women; however I don't think anyone should be banned from speaking if they choose not to use it!

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 26-Feb-16 00:08:06

The law would disagree with you op.

As does anyone with good manners.

dorade Fri 26-Feb-16 00:10:58

The law would be an ass.

AnnieOnnieMouse Fri 26-Feb-16 00:11:39

You ARE being deliberately offensive.
Anyway, what makes you think you'd be able to tell what gender someone was assigned at birth? Why do you think you have the right to choose which pronoun to use for someone?

dorade Fri 26-Feb-16 00:16:26

People are not "assigned a gender at birth". They are observed to be either male or female biological sex and that is the the same biological sex that they will continue to be throughout their life whatever gender stereotypes they adopt and whatever hormones they ingest and whatever cosmetic surgery they undergo.

RudeElf Fri 26-Feb-16 00:17:56

FFS. If you really cant bring yourself to use the preferred pronoun then use 'they'. But seriously, grips etc. Someone else's gender identity isnt about you. Why are you trying to make it so? Attention seeking?

VincentVanLowe Fri 26-Feb-16 00:20:22

MovingOn - could you please provide evidence that the law compels us to use 'preferred pronouns' please? Which part of the law?

VincentVanLowe Fri 26-Feb-16 00:25:15

Also - 'manners' have cultural context. It is bad manners within the trans subculture not to use preferred pronouns, for sure. However in wider culture, I expect most people have not even heard of the concept.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 26-Feb-16 00:28:08

Sigh. Can't you Google?

Try looking up discrimination and harassment with regards to Equality Act 2010. This is a good starting point:

But let's not pretend this is anything other than plain old fashioned bigotry and arrogance on your part. You are saying you know best.

Well collectively we the people have decided you are wrong. We evidence this with our anti-discrimination legislation and laws like the Equality Act.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 26-Feb-16 00:30:48

And just in case your ignorance extends to reading comprehension here is the relevant bit taken from that link:


Harassment is when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded because you are transsexual.

For example a transsexual woman is having a drink in a pub with friends. The landlord keeps calling her ‘Sir’ and ‘he’ when serving drinks, despite her complaining about it.

Harassment can never be justified. However, if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, you will not be able to make a claim for harassment against it, although you could make a claim against the harasser

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 26-Feb-16 00:33:45

So I would say it's pretty clear that you cannot harass transgender people on Mumsnet and expect your post not to be deleted because MNHQ have a legal obligation to take all reasonable steps to protected transgender people from harassment.

And just to be extra clear, harassment would be to deliberately use the pronoun the transgender person considers to be wrong. Not what you think.

ExitPursuedByABear Fri 26-Feb-16 00:35:39

Sometimes I feel really, really old.

And glad of it.

VincentVanLowe Fri 26-Feb-16 00:36:06

"what makes you think you'd be able to tell what gender someone was assigned at birth?"
I've never misidentified someone's sex yet. I have, on occasion and when I was much younger, been misidentified as a boy. I just smiled politely and continued on with my life. On each occasion the other person eventually clocked they had made a mistake and apologised, but to be honest it wasn't a big deal and they were embarrassed unnecessarily.

"Why do you think you have the right to choose which pronoun to use for someone?"
I think I have the right to use language in a way that can be clearly understood, is honest, and fits with my own understanding of the world.
What right does anyone have to deny me that?

YourLittlePlantPot Fri 26-Feb-16 00:42:42

"The law would disagree with you op.

As does anyone with good manners"


How awfully ignorant

VincentVanLowe Fri 26-Feb-16 00:43:48

Do you know if this idea that using accurate pronouns is harassment has ever been tried in court, please?

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 26-Feb-16 00:49:24

Why? Are you planning to be the first?

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