A2Z – Asking

As I mentioned yesterday, I was considering taking up the April A to Z blog challenge.  I already blog almost daily, so that wasn’t the issue.  For me?  The biggest challenge is actually staying on topic.  I enjoy writing on whatever hits me as interesting or important at the moment.  I lose my interest otherwise.  But, I figure, if I pick a topic that is dear to my heart – putting in 26 days shouldn’t be an impossible task.  So, I’m going to do it.  …and if I feel the need to go off topic, well…  on those days I’ll just post twice.  LOL  So here we go.  Day one:  Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity.

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - ASKING

For some folk, the most intimidating thing when encountering someone who doesn’t clearly fit into box A or B on the sexual and gender binary, is asking.  And honestly?  It’s something we need to become more comfortable with as a society, because even when someone appears very clearly to fit into “HE” or “SHE” it doesn’t mean that’s their preferred pronoun.  A wonderful individual, whom I am proud to call “friend”, recently posted the following on their Facebook status:

“I find it is no longer important or useful, and in fact has become a negative experience to identify as male. Rather than identifying as another type of gender, I will leave the spectrum of gender identity altogether. This means that the current English language of gender identity pronouns, such as she, her, his, her, xe, and hir, become problematic when referring to me. So with great respect and earnestness, I ask that you refer to me simply by using my name, for in a name the entire soul resides. Thank you.”

This is an individual, whom upon appearance, would very easily fit into the neat and tidy package we call “male” or “masculine” and is proof positive that we cannot, nor should we, presume to use male pronouns based solely on our impressions of said individual.

How we each identify is an intensely personal thing, and it is perfectly okay to ask someone what pronouns they prefer – if any.  In fact, for many of us, it’s a question we welcome.  So the next time you are introduced to someone try asking.  Not sure how to word it?  Give this a go:  “Hi Francis, it’s a pleasure to meet you.  Would you mind telling me which pronouns you’d prefer?”  Plain, simple, straightforward.  And if you feel the need to say more, try this:  “I’d hate to offend by insisting on using something that you don’t identify with.”  Chances are they’ll be happy you had the respect and courtesy to ask.

The a2z april blog challenge

And hey!  Ever had something you wanted to ASK (see?  I’m keeping it on topic) about gender, sex, affection, desire, expression, orientation or on any other topic of interest to the acronym community now’s the time.  26 days is a lot to fill, so help me out.  Let me know what YOU would like to see me blog about.  And thanks to Sarah for her suggestion of “Asking” as our very first in the alphabet series.

About Tobi-Dawne

Tobi-Dawne Smith is many things to many people... photographer, canine behaviour expert, equal rights activist, green politician, lactivist, intactivist, writer, crafter, dog handler, third wave feminist, etc. But most important in her life is her role as mother to an amazing five year old. Learn more about TD at http://www.tobi-dawne.com/ follow her blog at https://td365.wordpress.com/ get to know her daughter at http://lilyannslemonade.wordpress.com/ or check out her work at http://tdphotography.me/

Posted on April 1, 2012, in AtoZchallenge, gender variant, lgbt, LGBTTQ, People and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I’m a bisexual, open-minded and aware woman. I don’t have anything to ask, but it’s good that your offering this topic to those who wish to ask questions.

    Jolie du Pre
    Blogging A to Z at PreciousMonsters.com

    • Thanks for taking the time to leave a little love Jolie. 🙂 Always appreciated. And I do hope that throughout this month I’m able to offer some answers to those who might not have had the courage to ask otherwise. So even if you don’t have any questions yourself, I’m always up for topic suggestions.

  2. This is a wonderful project TD, and I look forward to reading your blog over the next 25 days 🙂

  3. Well, I wish A had been about Attachment Parenting, because I don’t know much about it. My instincts tell me I would have been horrible at anything so labor intensive. I love my kids – now 17 and 20 – don’t get me wrong. But I also love my independence too. (They’re intelligent, loved, dependable, respectful and in college – so my husband and I did something right.)

    Anyway, if you could touch on Attachment Parenting sometime during this A to Z thing, that would be nice.

    • While I’m a proud AP Mom, the topic of Attachment Parenting isn’t exclusively in the realm of gender and sexual identity… and that’s my topic for the A to Z challenge. Perhaps I’ll touch on it a bit when we get to P. 🙂

  4. One should always write what they feel strongly about, you have chosen a great topic. Will come back to read more.
    I am at http://sulekharawat.com/2012/04/02/best-friend/

    • Thank you for the blog love Sulekha. Hopefully I’ll be able to do a little educating. And it’s perfect timing as this week is Pink Revolution, and Wear Pink Day is on the 11th. 🙂

  5. Good luck .. with you’re doing here – Asking, a brilliant choice of word – me the little simple person *smile – went for apple, back in school! Brilliant post. Also I like very much what I run into here, so I want to see more.

    • Thank you! Though I can’t take credit for “Asking”. I was actually planning on going with aromantic or asexual until Sarah suggested asking – which had a much wider appeal. 🙂 Some letters will have multiple options… some, I fear, will be much more difficult. LOL

      • … loved the world – asking – me I started of with my food related bits so that is the path I stay on. Really liked your post. Are you two writing the blog ????

      • I write alone, but I have asked a few people for title suggestions. As long as I have a topic I can count on the words spilling forth. The title corresponding with a letter of the alphabet is where I’m likely to struggle. LOL

      • No .. you will be fine until we reach “Z” *smile – really like your blog. Great views on things.

  6. Interesting topic – good luck with the challenge!

  7. Just stopping by from the A to Z challenge – I will be back for more on this topic!

  8. Got here a day behind with great synchronicity. I had someone ask about how i identify over on my tumblr. First time I have ever expressed specifically that i would be genderfluid… have to consider if I am bi or pan the latter wasn’t really an option when I first tested Kinsey 3

    hugs and luck on the project

    • It’s an odd feeling when you first address the idea that there may (or may not) be words that encapsulate who you are. Life is messy, I don’t feel the need to fit inside a box, and don’t expect those around me to do so either. It can be nice to have a label that works for you, but it’s definitely not a requirement. 🙂

  9. I am a Chaotic so am quite ok just being but being a loving soul I sometimes consider making it a bit easier for others to understand the confusion. If I were a shape shifter I doubt I would have a default form.

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