Why I Don’t Use “Preferred Pronouns”

The short answer is I use SEX pronouns, not GENDER pronouns.

What activists call mis-gendering is in fact correct-sexing. What “preferred pronouns” demand is mis-sexing, which requires a lot of mental bandwidth.

Like most mammals, I can’t help but identify someone’s sex with +99% accuracy. (A tiny minority of humans intentionally “pass” as the opposite sex, and others are ambiguous. I know a few women who refuse to perform gender entirely, and that confuses some men. Women, I think, are better at identifying sex than men, either due to instinct or conditioning for survival, since males pose threats to us [physical overpowering, rape, impregnation] they don’t pose to other men.)

Pronoun activists are conditioning everyone around them for authoritarianism. That is, they are training everyone to override their own perceptions, and replace them with what they’re told. In order to signal loyalty, friends are required to publicly lie.

That is bad for individual mental health, and the health of the community.

It is crucial to have conscious awareness of our own perceptions. All of the great social catastrophes we are taught about – Naziism, Fascism, the Slave Trade – make us ask, “how could people DO that??” The answer is, BY DENYING THEIR OWN PERCEPTIONS. We lose our ability to resist or think when we deny the reality in front of our very eyes. No matter how well-intentioned, “preferred pronouns” condition exactly that.

Manage your own perceptions; you don’t get to control mine.

P.S. I don’t “correct” anyone for mis-sexing. If a man perceives himself a woman (or animal, or helicopter) I don’t deny him his own perception. If his friends call him “she” I don’t interfere. His friends, however, often aggressively police others, demanding they change their own perceptions. Everyone is free to identify however they wish, but they don’t get to control how others identify them.

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8 comments to Why I Don’t Use “Preferred Pronouns”

  • Irwin Chusid

    Imagine thinking sex differences haven’t mattered throughout millennia of human history. Biology is irrelevant. These people are science-deniers.

  • Etam

    If somebody would want to impose on everybody to reject terms like “male” and “female” and always use gender neutral language, that would indeed may cause another catastrophic “-ism”. I agree.

    But if a person asks you to call her by another name (because for example she legally changed it) or another pronoun (for whatever reason), then not doing so is just being an asshole.

    In other words:

    People with gender identity issues are in great minority. Therefore it’s good and safe to assume gender based on our perception. If a person asks you to call her differently, I see no reason not to do so. But if someone wants you to never assume a gender of anybody else, I think that’s wrong.

    And now I think that you Nina and whoever you’re debating with are overreacting. Just calm down everybody, please.

  • Tim Bessie

    I pretty much agree; I don’t care what someone calls themselves or anyone else calls them, but imposing upon me (at pain of shaming or extreme anger) what language I’m supposed to use feels very wrong, and my contrarian nature kicks in at that point.

    I tend to strike a bit of a balance, however; in the presence of the person or their friends, I use their preferred form of address. Away from them, I use whatever referent *I* prefer.

  • […] fed up with the clamor to find ways to count yourself a victim. Micro-racism, “misgendering“, microaggressions, cultural appropriation, and all the rest. I’m fed up with being […]

  • Ivan Velkovsky

    Considering that:

    – Intersex people exist and do not have a distinct pronoun
    – the idea of male and female being the sole sex or gender categories is decidedly modern and western (there have been third gender roles in many cultures)
    – individuals have been passing as a gender not assigned to them at birth for millennia (Dr. James Barry for example)
    – it’s not authoritarian to ask people to be polite in public (consider – if someone were to use a slur to refer to a group in public, is it authoritarian to ask them to stop and shun them if they do not? Pronoun use is an equivalent case)
    -there are countless studies showing that a gender-affirming treatment of transgender individuals is *beneficial*, not detrimental to the mental health (Google is your friend)
    – It is not, in fact, a lie to refer to someone with affirming language (as pronouns as a grammatical structure predate modern definitions of sex)
    – being nice to people is generally not “signaling loyalty”, unless you somehow believe that the only reason that someone would be nice and affirming is some commitment to a political cause
    – there is no material detriment to you or anyone else to refer to someone with the language they prefer (for example, someone asking you to call them an “indigenous American” or “native American” instead of an “Indian”)
    – and finally, you yourself admit that your perception is imperfect, and in fact there are many ways that someone can have an attribute that is not immediately visible (many disabilities are not visible on first glance), so it is in fact in no way asking you to deny your perception, nor is it a method of exerting control, for someone to ask you to correct your language

    Any single one of these points would strongly call your argument into question. In totality, they present a fundamental logical, moral, and political inconsistency and weakness of your position and ideology.

  • Ivan Velkovsky

    A choice quote:

    “in reality, much of patriarchy comes from the marginalization not of uteri but of women, human beings who interact with the world in ways not directly related to reproduction, and (ironically) part of the reason we know this is because trans women face that marginalization too.”

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