Singular “They” Traces Back To The 1300s, As It Happens…

, , , , , , , , | Related | July 18, 2020

My mother was diagnosed late in life with Aspergers Syndrome. One day, I notice she has posted a Facebook comment under some Christian article about the gender-neutral pronoun “they/their.” She states that “they” can only be used as a plural, and that if “he” or “she” don’t fit, there is always “it”.

I respectfully reply that, while they may have been used as plural pronouns in the past, language evolves and you most definitely can’t refer to anyone as “it”. I also comment that for the sake of tolerance and acceptance, “they/their” as gender-neutral pronouns should be embraced. 

She doesn’t respond, so later that day I ring her to ask if she really feels like calling people “it” is appropriate and to tell her that I actually think it’s pretty mean. I tell her that using respectful language won’t hurt her. She says something like, “And I suppose if I invite a stranger into my house and they slit my throat, that won’t hurt me, either?” — weird, I know! — and she hangs up on me. I try to call back a few times but she refuses my calls. 

I carefully craft an email to her explaining how I feel about what she said. I say that I understand that it’s difficult for her generation — she’s nearly seventy — to accept these societal changes, but it’s important that she does. I also reiterate that language evolves, even including a link to words that have changed meaning over time. I don’t hear back. 

A few days later, she turns up on my doorstep, hands me back my spare house key, tells me that she’s no longer my mother, and walks away. I yell after her to try to see my side but she keeps walking. When I call out, “What about the girls?” referring to my children, her granddaughters, she pauses, turns, and says, “Your girls, your problem!” I’m understandably upset. 

The next day she deletes me, my husband, and my mother-in-law from Facebook. 

I call my sister and my aunty — my mum’s sister — and explain the situation. They are also upset and both promise to talk to her about it. I ask them not to as I don’t want my issue to become their problem.

A few days later, I decide that I’ll be the bigger person for the sake of family and go to visit her with flowers. Fortunately, she’s out in the front of her house when I arrive; I was seriously concerned that she’d slam the door in my face. I give her the flowers and say I am sorry that I upset her and I just want to listen and not talk. She says she felt bullied by me and that her argument was about language and not transphobia. Rather than argue, I just make small talk until she feels better and promises to friend me and my family on Facebook again. 

I can’t say everything is back to normal. I haven’t given her my spare house key back and I won’t ask her to babysit my children again, but at least we can have family functions without any animosity. Fortunately, my mother-in-law is a loving mother to me and an amazing grandmother to my kids so they aren’t missing out too much not having a close relationship with my mother, but it’s still sad that rather than have a reasonable discussion, her first reaction was to cut us out of her life.

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That’s Some Social Working!

, , , , , | Right | July 17, 2020

Our team consists of three roles: our team leader, the coordinators, and the support staff. We work in a residential rehab facility. 

I am one of two coordinators. I’m an occupational therapist and the other is a social worker. Then, there is our team leader, and we make up a more clinical role together. All three of us are female. For the record, both my team leader and social worker coordinator are lesbians in happily married relationships. I am single and straight, like that really matters, but it makes for hilarious conversations with clients and staff alike sometimes.

On this day, I and the social worker are explaining to a male client about our partners — or lack thereof. This client has an injury that causes major brain changes and therefore sometimes what he thinks will come out very non-PC.

Client: *To the social worker* “Married yet?” 

Social Worker: “Indeed. Happy relationship.”

Client: “Good fella?”

Social Worker: “Good woman. Keeps me in check!”

Client: “Oh, you’re one of those effing lesbians. It’s wrong. Wrong!” *Looks at me* “And what about you?”

Me: “I’m devoting my life to being a cat lady. It’s too hard to catch a decent man these days. I just am not digging my holes in the ground deep enough to keep them trapped there before we get to marriage.”

The client laughed at this and told me if I didn’t get a man by thirty then I would turn into a lesbian. I’m twenty-five and “not fulfilling my role to have kids.”

I turned to my coworker, who told me all I needed to do was high-five her and I would become pregnant by a lesbian, therefore a woman fulfilling her job for kids.

Not pregnant or a lesbian, but we can continue to await the outcomes.

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She Knew Exactly What She Was Doing

, , , , | Right | July 14, 2020

I am a young trans guy working as a cashier at a popular hardware store. I happen to have my ears gauged and I am wearing pink plugs. A young lady in her early twenties walks up to my register.

Me: “Hi, how are you?”

Customer: “I’m fine, miss.”

I deepen my voice and absently strokes my beard.

Me: “I see you found our pansies that are on sale.”

Customer: “Yes, ma’am, I did.”

Me: “Okay, I’m sorry, ma’am, but I’m clearly a guy. And I would really appreciate it if you would stop calling me ‘ma’am’ and ‘miss.’”

Customer: *Sharp tone* “But you are wearing earrings! Pink ones!”

Me: “Yes, but that doesn’t make me a girl.”

I finish her transaction.

Me: “Have a nice day, ma’am.”

Customer: “You, too, young lady!”

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Well, First, I Plug In My PlayStation…

, , , , , , | Learning | July 12, 2020

I’m an American who lives in Tokyo teaching English. I’m just finishing up a forty-minute lesson with two intermediate-level students: a middle-aged man and a young woman. I always use the last minutes to ask if the students have any questions about anything since this is usually their only time to interact with a non-Japanese person.

Me: “Okay, guys, before we finish, do you have any questions about anything? About the lesson? About America? About me?”

Male Student: “Do you like Japanese girls?”

This is a really common question asked by male students to male teachers.

Me: “Um, no. Actually, I like Japanese guys. I’m gay.”

Male Student: “Oh.”

The conversation goes silent. I’m pretty open about that fact and students are always very nice about it, but it usually is a conversation stopper.

Me: “Okay, so, no more questions?”

Male Student: “How do you, um…”

The student pauses for a moment, obviously struggling to find the right words.

Male Student: “How do you, um… play in the nighttime?”

I’m completely taken aback by his question and try to think of something to say, but before I can, the female student speaks up.

Female Student: “Hey, hey, I don’t want to hear this. Please ask him after the lesson!”

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He Sure Didn’t Ace That One

, , , , , , | Friendly | July 2, 2020

I’ve come out as asexual to a couple of friends who I’ve met online. They’re all supportive, but one is completely clueless about anything LGBTQ+ and private-messages me for clarification. There is no malice or teasing, just lack of knowledge.

I’m known for being the “innocent child” of the group, extremely short and not intimidating in any way.

Friend: “If you’re ace, can you perform mitosis?”

Me: “While that would be cool… no. No, I cannot.”

Friend: “That sucks.”

I’m about to ask if he has any more questions before this message comes through.

Friend: “Two [My Name]s would be awesome but equally terrifying.”

Always a kick to be called “terrifying”!

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