“Here we meet again. It hasn’t been too long ago. My worst enemy seems to become my closest friend. Oh Dysphoria! Please don’t come again…” ~ Dysphoria, Leif De Leeuw Band
When I was in middle school, I remember having to memorize a list of pronouns.
I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, you, him, her, us, them, his, hers, theirs, ours…
Pronouns are similar to nouns but slightly more specific. We use pronouns all the time to describe ourselves as singular, collective, gendered, specific, subjective, objective, neutral.
Pronouns define us. All of us. And often they put us into categories of whether we are singular, with someone else, what our gender is, etc. But you didn’t come here for a grammar lesson (I hope…if you did, great!)…
Many folks who identify as trans/genderqueer will often change their pronouns from the ones they’ve always used as a way of transitioning and helping themselves align more with their genders. I am one of those folks who identifies as (read: I am) non binary. What that means is I was assigned female at birth but my gender is somewhere outside the gender binary of male and female. And for a while I was comfortable using she/her pronouns and being referred to as a woman but mostly out of convenience.
It is no longer convenient for me to do so because for as long as I can remember, folks automatically assumed that I was a woman either by using she/her pronouns, or calling me ma’am, etc. And it was UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s not that I am simply discontent with my body (which I am). I am distressed by parts of my body that are gendered female and pronouns assigned to me that are gendered female. This is what is known as dysphoria.
It’s like if someone constantly called you the wrong name (whether intentionally or unintentionally) or told you that you liked apples when you HATE apples and much prefer oranges. But much much worse. This feeling grates on you constantly and finally you get to a point where you have to say something or self-destruct (please don’t; don’t worry I’m no where near that point).
SO. This is me saying that to the rest of the world I guess outside of a few close friends and my partner. Binding my chest occasionally, cutting my hair short, and using they/them pronouns feels more me and aligns with the fact that I feel like my gender exists somewhere outside of and yet also between female and male. It’s ok to get it wrong as long as you acknowledge that and correct it. I know gender is complicated and it’s hard to think outside of the gender binary. But please know: it means a lot to me when the effort is made. I use they/them pronouns now. This is a part of who I am. And I am not an inconvenience that you can ignore. I don’t care of people think I’m a god damn unicorn. I am non-binary and deserving of the respect that is using the correct pronouns. That is all.