Contemplations on queerness, transness, and other Otherness.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

normalizing respect

       Typically, i don't hold out too much hope for trans allies. i've heard too many brazen assumptions and simplifications and apologisms to not be a little bit cynical here. i can only hear the "They're just like everyone else" argument so many times from cis-lips before feeling so invisible i could scream. But sometimes i'm surprised and given hope. Sometimes i like to be wrong.

       A regular at my work, who is a real sweetheart, surprised me in this way. she is a student at a nearby university and is always at the coffee shop where i work studying. She rants about feminism and is just generally a pretty righteous individual. So, when she asked me my pronouns, i didn't doubt for a second that it was from a place of respect.

       Frankly, that question is usually pretty respectful, save one recent experience that i recounted in "a lesson learning." So i responded with a simple, "she."

       She responded, "I thought so. Me too."

       This response was where she went above and beyond. Not only did she respect my gender, but she put us on the same plane by implying that her pronouns also need to be explicitly defined.

       So often it is the burden of gender non-conforming folks to explain themselves to others. This is bizarre because all genders are assumed, constructed, put-on. Why should queer folk be the only ones to acknowledge that? Normalizing this respectful verbal communication of one's gender could go a long way toward breaking down transphobia and social stigma. i was pleasantly surprised at this level of allyship and was reminded that it is, in fact, possible.