When Asking About Pronouns Hurts

I can’t do an intro here.  I just can’t.  So I’m just going to start talking.

I’ve always said that it’s perfectly fine to ask someone’s pronouns.  It’s bad to assume, yeah?  It’s good to know and make sure.

Gender and life are complicated and often stupid, so even that can be harmful sometimes.

The other day someone who has spent a fair amount of time in proximity to me asked me my pronouns.  This always throws me a bit – I’m publicly trans.  I talk about it a lot because trans activism is important to me.  So someone who has been around me, heard me rant, heard other people talk about me in third person asks me what my pronouns are on a day when I’m already feeling shitty about my presentation, and it feels like a knife in the heart.  This person’s mom, with cultural, generational, and linguistic barriers got it right without asking me.

It could very well have been deliberately insulting.  It’s much more likely that they really honestly wanted to know and somehow picked the worst possible time to ask.  I considered going to them and explaining why it was painful, but I don’t think they’d be very receptive to the explanation.

And, as I said, according to the Trans Code they were doing the right thing.  Sometimes there really isn’t something that can be done for something like this.  But being sensitive and worn out from other microaggressions make little things like this seem more deliberate.


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