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Problematic Language


Robin Winter

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I think one of the big issues comes from within the community itself.  "Boy mode"  "Girl mode"  "boy brain" "girl brain"  "Target Gender" "Preferred Pronouns" and so on.

We are not becoming our gender.  We ARE our gender.  We're (some of us) just trying to be cuter versions of our gender ^_^

I did not have a boy brain that magically turned into a girl brain with hormones.  My brain hasn't changed in any meaningful way.  Have there been some changes?  Sure.  I like ketchup now.  I cry more.  I'm still really good at fixing things, I can still disassemble a dishwasher and put it back together, replumb a kitchen sink, and change a fluorescent light ballast.  I still suck at makeup because I think it feels icky and I don't get much practice.  I still love video games.  I still love a good rom-com.  I'm still the same person I always was.  And that person is female. 

When I was wearing men's clothing because I wasn't out yet, I was not in boy mode.  Because I'm not a boy.  I was never a boy.  I was a girl wearing clothing with "men" on the tag.  It didn't make me male any more than my daughter is in "Boy mode" because she wears her "Flash" shirt and skater shorts that happened to come from the boys section at walmart.  If I was in any "mode" it was "Fear Mode".

My gender is not a target.  I'm already there, and I always was.  It's not a goal.  The goal is to have everyone else respect it, and that's really not my work to do.

My pronouns are not a preference!  They are my pronouns. Period. Mandatory.

We are not changing except in some cases (not all, you're all valid and you all freakin' rock) to align our outside with what's already inside.

You are already your gender, whether that's male, female, non-binary, demigirl/boy, gender fluid, pangender, whatever!  If you make physical changes, great!  If you don't, bloody great!  You're still beautiful, and you're still you.  So embrace who you are!  Grab it and own it!  Using language that implies you are "Changing genders"  supports the bigots in their view that we are trying to be something we aren't, that we're fantasizing or that we belong back in the DSM. 

You're all magical. 

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Very well said, Robin! By the way, you are a very pretty lady and you have a pretty name as well.

Higs,

Brandi

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  • Dev pinned this topic
  • Admin

I hope you don't mind, Robin.  I pinned your post to the top of the forum so it's more easily visible to new members.  It's just so well written and so on point I think it deserves as wide an audience as we can give it.  Thanks for taking the time to put it together!

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Just now, Dev said:

I hope you don't mind, Robin.  I pinned your post to the top of the forum so it's more easily visible to new members.  It's just so well written and so on point I think it deserves as wide an audience as we can give it.  Thanks for taking the time to put it together!

 

I'm honored, thank you :)

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  • Admin

Very well said, Robin.  Thank you for this.

 

Carolyn Marie

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  • Forum Moderator

I will add my agreement as well. Very well said!

 

Tracy

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  • Forum Moderator

Yes I agree!  This is support for my argument that I haven't changed, it's just obvious now who I am.  

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  • Forum Moderator

Pronouns have certainly been powerful for me despite the fact i have always been myself.  When presenting male and trying my best to suppress my female nature i would have reacted very negatively to a" she"or "her".  Today quite the opposite.  A "he" can hurt deeply.  That doesn't mean i've changed.  I've always been myself.  My female nature has always been there no matter how much i had to hide it.  

On 6/10/2018 at 11:50 PM, Robin Winter said:

I did not have a boy brain that magically turned into a girl brain with hormones

I certainly agree with this statement and Robin's post but words have always had their power.  Maybe that is because i have too often allowed myself to be accept societies perceptions rather than my own reality.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Yes but that was due to a shift in your own thinking and your own acceptance.  I was upset by implications I was feminine when I was younger too, because of social pressure and because I knew they didn't mean it in a positive way. 

 

What I'm referring to is that our brains don't actually change in the way that I see some people suggesting. WE don't actually change.  We might grow, we might learn more of ourselves,  but we're not changing from male to female, or female to male, or female to non-binary.  Our gender is innate, and using language that suggests a choice is bad press, as is supporting gender stereotypes. 

 

Hormones don't make us better at some things and bad at others.  They don't change our behavior.  There are no boy things and girl things, only stereotypes.  If someone finds comfort for themselves in stereotypes, that's fine, but don't attribute it to a hormonal change, especially not in a space where people are coming to figure themselves out.  If one person claims they had all these fantastic changes from estrogen and they can't fix their car now but they can put on glamour makeup in the dark, somebody else is going to be thinking "What's wrong with me?  Why isn't this working?  Am I not trans enough?"  Using language like this can be invalidating to other identities.

Words do have power, yes, because in this context they're driven by perception.  Let's make sure people are seeing us in the best light possible.  Not just Transwomen and transmen, but the whole spectrum of gender. 

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Yes, hormones can effect emotions, I didn't even bring that up.  I said hormones don't contribute to a change of your innate gender, and I said that one's abilities to perform stereotypically gendered tasks is not dependent on hormone levels.  Because they're stereotypes.

The point of this post was not to dispute the medical effects of hormones.  It was barely even about hormones, that was only one example in the broad scope of this topic.  It was about stopping to consider the language we use and to ensure that it represents us, ALL of us, properly.  We're people, we're valid, we're all unique. Spreading ideas to support our own fantasy of what it means to be our gender can be damaging to other people. 

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It's ok, what you're saying is important and valid, just not really what I'm getting at with this topic.

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Robin...  You just described exactly the place my head is in right now. When I go to doc they use my birth name because the State of California's identity law says your Insurance Card and Driver's License NAME match. No nicknames or Middle names. I go by my middle name Michael at the moment.

 

So, until July 12, when I get my "Court Odered" documents, the name on DL will be Kevin(a boy). On the 15th at DMV pronouns are in black and white and/or magnetic ink and will be honored or else!

 

ROFLMAO?

 

Nobody likes getting a "Southern Fried" tongue lashin'!?

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  • 4 years later...

Does anyone find "passing" or "pass as" as offensive?  I used to, but to be completely honest, as a student, I have found comfort in "passing" and not having to deal with immature stares and rudeness. I know by saying this I am technically reinforcing gendered clothing and other stereotypes, so I apologize. I just have found it easier to seek "passing." 

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Well, for me these words are simply describing a situation.  

Doesn't affect who or what I am.

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On 6/10/2018 at 8:50 PM, Robin Winter said:



My gender is not a target.  I'm already there, and I always was.  It's not a goal.  The goal is to have everyone else respect it, and that's really not my work to do.

My pronouns are not a preference!  They are my pronouns. Period. Mandatory.

 

Well said! I have requested that my fellow educators stop using the term "preferred" and simply ask for pronouns. 

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1 hour ago, Jandi said:

Well, for me these words are simply describing a situation.

This was in regards to the "passing" post, not the pronouns.

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3 hours ago, DylanB1452 said:

Does anyone find "passing" or "pass as" as offensive?  I used to, but to be completely honest, as a student, I have found comfort in "passing" and not having to deal with immature stares and rudeness. I know by saying this I am technically reinforcing gendered clothing and other stereotypes, so I apologize. I just have found it easier to seek "passing." 

 

1) As a non-binary person, my end goal isn't passing; it's completely different.  It's to find the ways to express myself (physically and verbally) that allow me to feel comfortable.  There are plenty of queer people for whom "passing" convincingly as female or male is not a goal.  As one of the relatively smaller percentage of people who identify as "trans non-binary" and are on HRT, this puts me in the different situation of desiring to be more feminine, but not a transwoman, and therefore I'm not trying to pass.  The trans world umbrella includes many different gender identities.

 

2) The ability to "pass" is often a goal of MtF or FtM trans folks, but it can be hard to achieve for many who start their journey later in life and/or do not have the financial resources or insurance to pay for GRS, FFS, etc.  Also, when passing in order to make cis people feel comfortable around us, precisely the opposite is needed:  we need more accepting behavior, particularly if we're clocked (don't pass someone's expectation).  In these days of intolerant behavior on the part of many state governments and strangers who don't know us, I certainly understand the need for passing as a matter of safety. But that is for a different reason entirely. 

 

For these reasons, I personally find "passing" a complex topic!  All while fully supporting those who want and need to pass.

  

Astrid

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  • 1 month later...

Robin you share some thoughts that have been forming in my brain. I can't stand "prefer" anything. My gender is not preferred. I am a female. My name is not preferred. My name is StephieAnd my pronouns are not preferred. They are she/her. It would sound a bit funny if an auto mechanic said their preferred occupation was a mechanic beause they actually are.

 

I admit to using "boy mode" at time, though I never like it.

 

Yes hormones did not change who I am. I have always been a female. I was just blind of it for too many years. Hormones don't make me a female although Social Security requires a letter from your treating physician stating you have had the appropriate treatment to be you gender. 

 

From the outside looking in I am just a feminine version of myself. But inside which they could not see and the times I couldn't see I was still a female.

 

The thing about hormones they have help aligned my body to it true gender. I would say hormones and emotions and a strange mixed. First because a female type and male type are fluid and are not exact. For myself I found myself paying more attention to my intuitions, which is very useful. It keeps me alert to dangers and when and if I should share something personal. Yes they do take a cognitive appraisal for a reality check. But the intuitions start the process. I think recognizing myself as female allowed me the social permission to pay attention to them where males are not encourage to do so. The crying thing at first maybe had more to do with low thyroid. But, it is always focused on something. Of late it has been opiate detox. I am wondering how much crying will completely remove my mascara (lol).

 

I appreciate you article, as a writer I am always looking to learn better ways of expressing things. I wrote in a blog that I was an uppity woman. Someone pointed out that was disrespectful to woman of color as it implies they are just bossy. So, I have drop it. After a blog worth of thought I feel that I am a self-confident woman fits well (https://stephiegurl.home.blog/2021/09/14/how-do-i-explain-a-prime-characteristic-of-my-womanhood/). 

 

I intend to read it again to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Thanks, Robin

All the best Stephie

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