An unhappy pronoun moment
I basked in the happiness of the male pronoun this evening, getting “sirred” repeatedly at a restaurant where I dined. After my meal, I went to a small meet up of six trans guys. This was my first experience actually meeting other trans guys in person. They were all very masculine, no doubt about it. Real nice guys. So, why did I fuck up, slipping on a pronoun and referencing one of them as “she”? Man, I felt like an asshole! I don’t know that everyone in the room heard it, but I’m pretty certain he did.
I was instantly reminded of a pronoun slip that Kate Bornstein describes in her book Gender Outlaw. To her, someone else’s slip felt like her own personal failure. I sincerely hope that my fuck up–my failure–was not interpreted in this manner. Should I have apologized, or would that simply have highlighted and further publicized the awkwardness he may have felt? (Or am I only thinking about protecting myself from uncomfortability here?)
Personally, I feel pretty open about the pronoun thing. I like going by “he” a lot but the truth is that I fuck up referencing myself–it’s a 33 year old habit that will take time to break. I’m also not out to very many people, so “she” is something I will get for a long while. How can I not be forgiving? But that’s my take. For many FTMs, hearing “she” is extremely uncomfortable. I have no idea where this guy is at with this, maybe he didn’t even care. In the end, it comes back to me and my fuck up. I’ll learn, I just hope I don’t piss people off in the process. Tonight, I’m just an annoying pre-T, pre-op FTM. Sorry about that, dude.
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- January 22, 2008 / 12:00 am