Friday, August 07, 2009

Not Feeling 'Ze' and 'Hir'

There are some people in the trans community who use alternate gender neutral pronouns to describe themselves such as 'ze' and 'hir'.

While that may work fine for them it doesn't for the Phenomenal Transwoman. I'd be willing to bet more than a few of my transsistahs and transbrothas share my sentiments as well.

My beef with the alternate pronouns is fundamentally simple. We transpersons have a tough enough battle just getting people in general to use 'he' and 'she' property in our presence.

I and other African-American transpeople have a battle with fundamentalist elements of our community just to recognize we transpeople exist. My transpeeps are focused on getting our own community ejumacated' to use the proper pronouns.

Besides, I've spent a lot of time, treasure and effort to make body and gender identity match. I've worked hard for that 'she' pronoun and I'm not willing or ready to give it up just yet for 'ze', 'hir' or whatever comes up next.

Nope, I'm not feeling the alternate pronouns. She, ma'am, Miss, Ms. or madame works just fine for me.


Claire said...

Well, you're binary-identified, Monica... I am, too (trans woman), but I still use ze, hir, and hirs for unknown (usually hypothetical) third parties and when referring to my genderqueer friends and acquaintances. I'd certainly bristle if somebody started sticking me with ze and hir, though! I

Jess said...

These terms aren't for you. They're for people that don't identify as either side of the binary, and for them, "she" and "her" (or "he" and "his") would be as completely inappropriate as "ze" and "hir" would be for you.

Please don't trash talk terminology that is crucial to other people's identity just because it has been wrongly applied to you.

Kandice F. said...

I personally like using "ze" and "hir" because I identify as genderqueer as opposed to transsexual although it's all under the transgender umbrella. If you identify with "she" and "her" that's perfectly fine and you have every right to request that the correct/preferred pronouns be used to describe you... but clearly she/he and him/her have a gender assumption attached and when you don't identify with either of those, I think it's fair to use pronouns that agree with your lack of/abundance of gender identity...

The best thing to do is open the dialogue about not assuming gender just because of presentation whether clear or ambiguous. If you don't know someone, ask what pronouns to use or use gender neutral ones to start off with, and that gets people thinking about it as what it is, a performance and social construct instead of some fixed god given identity. By denying the usefulness and need for non-binary pronouns, you're advocating the erasure of those of us (Black, like me, and non-black) who don't see gender as a binary.

Mykell said...

I am indifferent to being called either "he" or "ze". Nobody actually calls me "ze" but I make a point of allowing the option because I don't think there should be gender-specific pronouns.

I struggle to get people to call me "he" instead of "she" - but when people are already trans-friendly I mention that I'll also accept "ze."