Gender & Pronouns
My name is Joelle and my pronouns are she, he, or they.
I like that statement much better than “I'm pronoun indifferent.” Of course, I could go some better- “My name is Joelle, I'm agender, and my pronouns are he, she, or they.” I wonder if changing the pronoun order would startle people, since much of my presentation seems “feminine.” At a recent meeting I attended, a person used “they” for me and it was strangely pleasing. Maybe not so strangely- the first time I masturbated to orgasm after getting on an anti-depressant, it was The Queen calling me “boy” that pushed me over the edge into release.
I grew angry at one support group session where some people referred to “she/her” as “feminine” pronouns; I vented, “What does that mean when I as an agender person use she/her?” After all, languages evolve over time; when I first pondered my gender as a youngster, the terms non-binary and agender didn't exist, as far as I knew.
“Joelle ate most of his chips, but didn't finish their salad because her stomach was full.” I find that quite an enjoyable sentence. :D “He opened their can of energy drink and she took a sip.” Yes, this would be why I encouraged Happy to try out different pronouns one at a time until joy settled on the noun-self pronouns joy/joys/joyself.
While the previous paragraph was meant to show how switching pronouns in the midst of one sentence or paragraph could cause confusion, I have to admit that a person's pronouns changing regularly, like for a genderqueer person, is something that I find confusing. Of course, the way in which genderqueer/genderfluid people experience their pronouns, I don't think it's quite like pronoun indifference such as I have. As an agender person, I only feel gender in relation to other people, almost as a reflection of what gender they see me to be.
Among the things that complicated coming out as non-binary for me, not wanting to change my name or my pronouns was something that made me feel less valid. A little explanation- my daughter told me she's transgender, asked to be called a new name and she/her pronouns before I came out as agender. Also, as I looked at non-binary YouTubers, I was struck by “come out, hair cut, they/them pronouns”- it seemed almost formulaic to me. And none of it felt right to me. It wasn't until I was able to consider things like “I want to wear a chest binder sometimes” before I was able to settle into comfort with my pronouns as they are; I still felt too much like I was appropriating someone else's struggle to consider anything but the pronouns of my assigned gender.
When it comes to writing, I'm glad that “What are their pronouns?” is a standard thing I consider when creating a new character; I don't assume cisgender people using the pronouns of their assigned gender.
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