Not Genderalizing The Issue

, , , , | Working | October 12, 2017

(I’m at the checkout of a supermarket.)

Cashier: “Will that be cash or card today, sir— Oh, umm… miss?”

Me: “I— uh, what?”

Cashier: *huffs* “I’m sorry. We’re supporting our manager who’s come out as agender, so we’re not assuming the gender of anyone we serve today to bring attention to the issues of non-binary individuals.”

Me: “That actually sounds quite interesting, but isn’t using female pronouns automatically assuming that my gender is female?”

Cashier: “No, because you’re a guy, so I referred to you as a woman.”

Me: “Aren’t you assuming my gender then, anyway?”

Cashier: *deer in the headlights moment* “OH, MY GOD!”

Me: “Don’t get me wrong; I think what you’re trying to do is a good thing, but it’s more for highlighting transgender issues than issues affecting the wider non-binary community.”

Cashier: *tears forming in her eyes* “I… I don’t know what to say. I’ve messed up. I don’t really understand any of it.”

Me: “I don’t think many out there will hold it against you. Admitting you don’t understand is a big step forward. Maybe ask what pronouns people would like to be referred to as, or just use the neutral ‘they’ and ‘them,’ etc.”

Cashier: “Oh, I will. Thank you. So, umm, what pronouns would you like me to use?”

Me: “Male is fine. I’m agender, too, actually, but I don’t care enough to really bother. I just go with whatever people use for me.”

(Her face lit up and we finished my purchase. It was nice thing to see people trying to bring attention to such issues. It made my week.)

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