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Pronouns

(32 Posts)
JellySlice Tue 16-Feb-21 14:17:48

I recognise that we neither have a MN hive mind, nor a uniform position on pronouns. For those for whom pronouns matter, have you noticed that MNers are more likely to use feminine pronouns for more feminine-appearing TW? Similarly masculine pronouns for more masculine-appearing TM. And this does not relate to how accepting or rejecting of biological reality they are.

Eg Blair White and Laverne Cox - ‘she’. Buck Angel and Stephen Whittle - ‘he’.

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OhHolyJesus Tue 16-Feb-21 14:25:21

I can't force language on anyone, I certainly can't do that and ask someone it to force theirs on me but I do find it odd when anyone uses a female pronoun for someone they know is male, regardless of how feminine a person might appear.

If someone uses a female pronoun for a man it makes me sad and I respect them a bit less. Even if it's seen as a small act of polite pretending it is always a huge black fat lie, not a tiny white one, that betrays women, even if they think it doesn't, I think it does.

Blaire White I would call White or Blaire.
Stephen Wood/Karen White I would call White or Stephen Wood. I don't do pronouns but I will use chosen names to be polite, show respect and if I like them. Wood deserves none of the above and I'm a bit in the fence with Blaire White.

Branleuse Tue 16-Feb-21 14:36:25

if i see someone is trans, then ill use they pronouns usually as a unisex option. I dont want to get banned from anywhere for misgendering, yet am uncomfortable using pronouns for a sex I know they actually arent

GCITC Tue 16-Feb-21 14:43:35

This backs up the claim that pronouns are sexed rather than gendered. Those who have taken steps to change their body to resemble that of the opposite sex, and have done so successfully, are more likely to be called the pronouns of the sex they resemble.

OneEpisode Tue 16-Feb-21 15:07:10

I don’t know Blaire White. I have only seen a curated persona on screen. That persona presents feminine so “she” talking about the persona is what comes automatically.
Do younger mn users think of the image on screen more than the real person?

JellySlice Tue 16-Feb-21 15:12:54

Perhaps so.

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notyourhandmaid Tue 16-Feb-21 15:16:18

I haven't noticed this as a pattern but I did wonder recently if people found it easier to use preferred pronouns when it's people who are very clear they're not literally the sex they present as - i.e. people will 'be kind' when it's an actual option rather than something forced.

Clymene Tue 16-Feb-21 15:19:29

I use preferred pronouns on MN purely because I know it's bannable if I don't. Fwiw I don't think of Laverne Cox as more of a she than Alex Drummond

Clymene Tue 16-Feb-21 15:21:12

This seems an opportune moment to link to Barracker's excellent article on why pronouns matter: https://www.keep-prisons-single-sex.org.uk/pronouns-are-rohypnol

Mrgrinch Tue 16-Feb-21 15:24:43

For me personally, I would call Blaire or Laverne by their names where possible.

JellySlice Tue 16-Feb-21 15:36:31

notyourhandmaid

I haven't noticed this as a pattern but I did wonder recently if people found it easier to use preferred pronouns when it's people who are very clear they're not literally the sex they present as - i.e. people will 'be kind' when it's an actual option rather than something forced.


I don't think Laverne Cox or Stephen Whittle fit into that category.

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notyourhandmaid Tue 16-Feb-21 15:48:04

@JellySlice oh agree, yes. Should have been clearer - have noticed/wondered about pronoun use, but not in the same pattern of usage that you're talking about. I noticed a lot of 'she' on a thread about Blaire White a while back, for example. That felt like a deliberate politeness but maybe it is more to do with 'passing'.

JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Tue 16-Feb-21 15:57:36

I tend avoid them generally, but will do what I feel comfortable with.
I do use 'he' pronouns for Buck Angel for example, simply because he's stuck up for women, has refused to deny biology and has got a lot of abuse from trans activists for it.
I don't always agree with Buck but I do think he's a decent person who wants to find a respectful way forward for everyone. I feel quite comfortable using preferred pronouns there.
However, there is no way on earth I would use 'she' pronouns for anyone like JY or others who are similarly abusive or running roughshod over women's rights and boundaries. Absolutely not. Then I'll either avoid it completely or use their names.

JellySlice Tue 16-Feb-21 16:08:06

I also assumed it was politeness, but it nonetheless struck me as jarring (Rohypnol). Why would you be gender critical and refer to any males by feminine pronouns? Still, I accept that even TWAM posters do not all think alike. It was when I noticed this same 'courtesy' being extended to MRA TW that I realised it's got to be more than female socialisation politeness.

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JellySlice Tue 16-Feb-21 16:09:01

And MRA TM, too.

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CranberriesChoccyAgain Tue 16-Feb-21 16:14:02

Blair does pass quite well, but it's worth noting there have been a few surgeries to help the process. Facial feminisation and breast augmentation (?). I worry that it's something most TW couldn't afford and it sets perhaps an unrealistic goal for transition. As for pronouns, most people will use what seems most accurate. I'm not really surprised people use 'she' for BW but struggle for those who are less convincing (apologies if that's offensive) like a well-known comedian of late. It's silly to think we don't rely on our eyes and ears to form opinions.

OhHolyJesus Tue 16-Feb-21 16:14:06

Probably on here Jelly the politeness is mistakes for coerced speech via the guidelines a Clymene says.

I avoid them because of the guidelines but the burden of linguistic gymnastics is on me then to say what I think (freedom of expression) but within coerced speech (guidelines) or risk the ban hammer.

nauticant Tue 16-Feb-21 16:17:09

We currently have real time language instruction on Radio 4:

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000s9vj

It started with Michael Rosen giving a grovelling apology for wrongspeak in the past.

Biscuitsanddoombar Tue 16-Feb-21 16:21:21

I will use they or their name. I feel very uncomfortable using male/female pronouns for people who are of the opposite male/female sex

Barracker Tue 16-Feb-21 17:00:19

Once I know, I know.
So although some people do a better job of gaslighting people about their sex than others, once I'm actually aware of a person's sex, I just don't participate in the façade. At all. Obviously that's easy enough to do do in thoughts and in speech with like-minded people, less so on forums where you'll be banned for it.
It helps that I can speak and write in an uninhibited way in other private arenas with other people who thankfully also refer to individuals without a trace of gaslighting. Including declining to use ladynames where those are chosen to be a tool to gaslight too.

For example, referring to a man you know was called John and who was a violent porn advocate exactly as he is, rather than as he would demand you refer to him, is like a breath of fresh air.

I understand why people feel compelled to comply. I would encourage everyone to find an outlet where the truth is not unsayable. It's a weight off when you can.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 16-Feb-21 17:04:41

I generally try to avoid pronouns if I find they make what I'm writing less clear.

Using a pronoun of the wrong sex makes writing less clear. Using a pronoun that a person wouldn't like is discourteous, but requiring a writer to use a pronoun they're not comfortable with is too.

There's nearly always a way to avoid them without being stilted.

nauticant Tue 16-Feb-21 17:18:43

I try to go with "they" or their name. I expect using "they" in this way is a microaggression.

After writing that I thought I might check and hey presto:

For many trans/GNC people, gender is an important part of their identity and actively avoiding the act of gendering manifests as another form of violence—a violence that trans/GNC people have been fighting against throughout the long history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and two-spirit (LGBTQIA2S) experience.

blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/actually-we-should-not-all-use-they-them-pronouns/

Expect to see the use of "they" becoming a hate crime, that is at the moment a trans person says they personally don't like it.

It's about control.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 16-Feb-21 17:22:58

* For many trans/GNC people, gender is an important part of their identity*

For many GNC people, gender is a box to be liberated from.hmm
I'm pretty sure compelled speech could be characterised as a form of 'violence'.

Repeat after me...

RootyT00t Tue 16-Feb-21 23:59:43

Weirdly enough, even though I've been somewhat ...stubborn ...in some of my view on the issue, does anyone remember the footage of India Willoughby in CBB shouting and bawling at an 80 odd year old woman for accidentally using a he?

Amanda Barrie apologised profusely and said what would you like me to do now? But India had no response other than I am a WOMAN.

I think pronouns should be used, but I think berating of genuine mistakes is more likely to stigmatise it.

removes splinters from arse

MissBarbary Wed 17-Feb-21 00:20:40

It depends on whether I like the person or not. I would always use "she" for Blaire and Rose of Dawn and "he" for Buck Angel ; for unpleasant people I would use the name, not they.

On a slightly similar tangent for anyone I don't like I use their surname only on here with no first name or title.

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