In Part Three here, we address how to practically navigate the discussion over gender pronoun use with colleagues at work and school, as well as with authorities who oversee our lives there. We divide this into two sections: What to do when asked to announce your own pronouns and when others request you use theirs.
When engaging this question in the classroom and workspace, is it critical we understand the philosophy behind such requests, so that we truly appreciate what we are being asked to participate in and why.
To be sure, this new effort is squarely based on a radical and inherently anti-scientific view of what it means to be human as male and female. People are certainly free to make up new beliefs about such things and claim they are true. But no one can or should force you to pay allegiance to that new belief with your words.
This new belief not only assumes that anyone can self-identify as something other than their biological sex or gender. It also holds that all others must fully recognize and accept that a biological male can be every bit the woman any naturally born woman is. This is a brand new idea that has only appeared in the last nano-second of human experience and certainly lacks full agreement by most people. Be sure, there is no new scientific discovery that is driving this new view. In fact, it tends to fly in the face of what science tells us about what it means to be male and female.
The request to use gender pronouns is based squarely on this newly evolving ideology and you absolutely have the right to choose to not participate in it.
- What to Say When Asked to Announce Your Pronouns
So how do you actually have the conversation when this topic arises at school or work?
According to the new rules of gender politics, the reason to give one’s pronouns in an introduction or email/social media/zoom signature is so that the person announcing their pronoun never, ever gets “misgendered.” Since giving your pronouns is designed to protect you, it is totally reasonable for anyone to say,
“Thank you for the invitation to give my pronouns so that I am never misgendered by anyone. But to be honest, being misgendered is not a concern to me at all. And if it is not a concern to me, it should not be a concern to others.”
But some will reply, “Well, announcing your pronouns keeps others from making the mistake of misgendering you, which could be traumatizing to them.” It is important to reveal what game is being played here. Since the requested pronouns refer to you and you alone, one can simply respond,
“If anyone is confused about my gender, it would not offend me in the least. So there is no concern for anyone here. I would forgive them immediately.”
In two simple moves, you have kindly demonstrated this is simply not an issue for you. To any subsequent counter-arguments on the matter, one need only respond with crisp finality,
“I trust I was as clear as I possibly could that being misgendered is not a concern. That is why I choose not to announce my own personal pronouns. I hope I will not be disrespected by having to explain myself again on this matter.”
End of discussion on your own personal use of your own personal pronouns.
- What to Say When Asked to Use Others’ Pronouns
This is where things unfortunately get a little more complicated. The first part regarded your own feelings and sense of personal safety. You are the one who gets to make that call.
This second part regards the words others demand you use for their own personal sense of safety.
We must understand that this is precisely what gets us into deep and troubling waters here: People being compelled or required to utilize language that is contrary to one’s own beliefs about what it means to be human is indeed problematic. We must be allowed to recognize this in a civil society of mutual respect. Failing to do so violates freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.
It must also be noted that telling others what words they must use to make you feel safe is simply not healthy nor reasonable. It is not what adults do to each other. Especially when that required language is built upon a shiny new view of what it means to be male or female and the request itself was created to compel you to pledge verbal allegiance to that ideology. No one can or should compel anyone to say things they fundamentally do not believe. Even under the guise of kindness and inclusion.
So should one never use another’s requested pronouns? That depends on some important distinctions, which we explain in Part 4.
As Much as Possible, Be Kind to All
On this matter, the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:18 is wise advice for everyone:
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
All means everyone, including those who have differing beliefs about sex and gender. And we can still be gracious and kind to others without using the words they demand of us. It is said that actions speak louder than words and we should keep this in mind here. We must all show ourselves kind and gracious to each of our co-workers and fellow students, regardless of their story. Be sure to demonstrate your kindness to gender dysphoric and confused people through your clear and gracious actions toward them, rather than the empty virtue signaling of pronoun use. Our relationships with and mutual respect for others are demonstrated through many tiers beyond word-choice. As much as possible, show kindness to all through your own individual choice of words and actions.
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