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  • Lindsay posted an update in the group Group logo of GenderstraddlersGenderstraddlers 10 years, 4 months ago

    I think I’m going to post this question in a few groups to try to maximize advice… Please comment if you have any thoughts!

    I’m a queer cis femme college grad who just started seeing a female-bodied genderqueer person who goes by the pronouns they/their/them. I’m doing my best to get used to using these pronouns, which I consistently do when referring to this person among my understanding queer friends, but my question is whether I should use these pronouns among my straight/cis friends and coworkers. This person is not out at work or school (where they are referred to as “she”), so I feel uncomfortable outting them to my own friends/coworkers simply in passing conversation, but I want to be as respectful as possible and would feel terrible if I said anything to invalidate their genderqueer identity. I know the obvious solution is to ask, but since we only just started seeing each other a week ago, I don’t want to seem like I’m getting ahead of myself by saying, “so I’ve been talking about you a lot and I was wondering…” Does anyone have any advice for navigating this situation and, I hope, potential relationship? I really like this person and don’t want to mess things up.

    Thank you!

    • Well, as someone who is only out to some people as trans, I ask people when I tell them about me to continue using my old name and pronouns in public. My guess then for you would to be continuing using female pronouns until you’re able to talk with them about it.

      • Nikki, thank you for your advice! I thought I had responded but apparently not–sorry! See my response to smartypants below if you’re interested in how things turned out… thanks again for your input.

    • I maybe a little late to this party but wanted to lend some support–and also, applaud both your sensitivity and sense of politeness. I’m a big fan of being polite! Perhaps since your original comment was about a month ago, you’d be willing to let us know how it evolved for you?–what did you decide? How did you choose to negotiate this?–hope all is well.

      • Hey! Sorry for the slow response… saw this at work last week and didn’t get to reply. I ended up finally talking to the person about the pronoun question a couple weeks ago. They told me that they prefer for me/people to use their pronouns (they/their) in the company of others, since using she/her can create an uncomfortable disconnect on the occasion that they actually meet each other. They also said that it’s important for me to feel safe (as in, certain that I will not experience violence/lose my job) when using their neutral pronouns in a given context, which was a concern I had not considered before. Since then, friends have generally been respectful of those pronouns, even it they’re totally baffled by them. Now my follow up question: there have been a couple different instances when different friends of mine, after learning the pronouns of the person I’m seeing (can’t quite call them a partner yet), has casually continued to use she/her without seeming malicious or aware that it’s disrespectful…. any advice for how to politely correct them without seeming condescending (as in, “I JUST told you their pronouns, COME ON”…)? Thank you!

        • Well done Lindsay for having that conversation with your friend–and if I remember correctly, a romantic friend, n’est ce pas? In which case, I hope it’s going well…..
          W/r/t friends who keep blowing it with the pronouns–I think calling on it “in the moment” (no Italics!) is probs the way I would go. Like small children and puppies, training needs to happen exactly when the mistake occurs! :-) I know it’s not the malicious kind of oversight but the clueless/not in thehabit yet kind of oversight–but still, I think your sentiment may be EXACTLY what needs to be said:
          (as in, ”I JUST told you their pronouns, COME ON”…)?
          Let us know how this works out for you! Also, your friend’s concern re: your own workplace safety was especially touching/meaningful–thoughtful. (Sounds like a nice catch!:-)