Thank you for trying to be an ally when I tell you that my pronouns are they/them. I believe you when you say this is new for you and that you are trying. I believe you that you mean no disrespect. I am not angry that you misgendered me.
But I am frustrated.
Please do not tell me (or any other non-binary or trans person you meet) that:
- “It’s as hard for me to remember your pronouns as it was for you to discover your identity.” With all due respect, you’re assuming a lot about my identity and my journey. Please do not compare your difficulty to respect me, with your presumption of difficulty for me to accept myself.
- “I’m just going to call you by your name. That’s way easier for me to remember.” Yes, you are more than welcome to refer to me by name, but this isn’t about your comfort or your memory. I’m not asking you to only refer to me by name, only to be more conscious of how you use gendered language to describe me.
- “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I’m trying, and then I realize I called you a her and then I get flustered and forget what I was saying entirely. I’m sorry!” I believe you. But this isn’t about your comfort or how flustered you may get by saying the wrong thing. I’m not angry at you. But rather than apologizing profusely, please try a simple correction: “I was just telling her–I mean them, that…” A simple correction is far more respectful and causes less of a scene.
- “I’m older. This is just really new for me/this is the first time I’ve encountered this [or someone like you] before.” I know you’re trying to learn and I appreciate your effort. But I don’t need an explanation on why you’re having a hard time. I don’t need to know I’m the exception or anomaly in your life. To be honest, that makes me feel like my existence is an imposition.
Again, thank you trying to be an ally. Thank you for taking me seriously when I tell you I’m not a woman and for asking how I identify. I’m sure you are a liberal person who believes in human rights and who would never purposefully make me feel unwelcome. But please know you are still making me feel unwelcome because you are putting your comfort first.
Thank you for your time,
An Agender Person