A few months ago I had to make a vestibular therapy appointment. At the place where I was supposed to go, I could not make the appointment via an online booking app: I needed to actually talk to a scheduler.

So the scheduler tells me that I am going to see “Jane Doe”.

So, as it’s now what we are supposed to do, I ask the scheduler what pronouns “Jane Doe” uses.

Scheduler had absolutely no idea what pronouns “Jane Doe” uses. Scheduler said she thinks female, but really isn’t sure.

Ok. Whatever.

I get to clinic for my appointment. There are a billion signs up which speak to pronoun usage. I mean they are everywhere.

I had to fill our paperwork. No where on the paperwork does it state what pronouns you would like the facility to use. There is no call me he or she or they option.

So…

Scheduler doesn’t know preferred pronouns of providers.

There is no place to formally state your preference of how you want to be referred to.

I can’t help but ask…

If we don’t follow suit on ALL things, will pronoun neutralization really occur?

Or are we just going to stop saying he/she because it’s just easier?

73 thoughts on “Call me by my Pronoun

  1. I can’t begin to discuss my perspective on this topic because it would turn into a blog post. 😉

    There are few people who use pronouns that I’ve come across IRL. Two, one of whom I know personally, do this. The other is a professional whom I “met” on zoom via an appointment. Incidentally, they are both heterosexual married women.

    There is one more on social media whom I do not know IRL but follow, who is non-binary in a female body married to a man; “they” use pronouns too.

    Three people. All Canadian. Two she’s and a they.

    I’m not going to use pronouns myself. I don’t want to. Do I have to?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I use only “he” or “she” (or “they” if more than one, or “it” if it is not gendered at all such as a stone or the moon, or “we” if I’m part of the group).

    I like to follow the science. There are only two genders.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. That is funny. I usually go by the first name-if it is feminine but nowadays you might get into trouble with assumptions. Is there anywhere I can move where we just go by first names and that is it…here is to simplicity. If he is named Adam, and she is named Eve, I am good but then I am from another generation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cupcake, I wrote a response about gender neutral names below in this blog. I’m now in my 70’s but for my entire life on paper people saw the name Lesley and assumed I was male. It’s annoying and after 7 decades of this it makes me a tad angry. The first reason being that Lesley with an ey is the feminine version of the male name Leslie. Everyone in Great Britain knows that. But, people in America don’t. My mother didn’t anticipate the ignorance of so many people when she gave me my name. I’m one of the few women of my generation with the correct spelling. So everyone seems to get it wrong. (Watch British movies and there is always a female Lesley in the cast.).
      I have to pus Ms. in front of my name quite often and still people get it wrong! Argh! It’s always misspelled, I’m assumed male, and by misspelling it my data info is often wrong or can’t be located because it was typed incorrectly.
      I cannot tell you how many times my name alone has created issues. The irony of it all is that in college I played Juliet. And when my character stated, “ “what’s in a name? That which we call rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I remember night after night thinking… if you only knew what’s in a name! 😳
      But yes, generally names do give us a clue but not always. Rob can be Roberta. Bobby can be Bobbie for Barbara. My mother in law was Frances. Jo or Joey for Josephine. I taught school for 36 years and came across a plethora of gender neutral names. To get our state funding We’d have to put percentages on gender, race etc. it was required by law. I wonder how gender identification now affects state funding. Nowadays we write multi racial because ethnicity is not as easy to determine. My daughter in law is Filipino. So my grandchildren are white-Asian. Both have curls and almond shaped eyes. But my grandson looks Filipino with curls as he resembles his mother. My grand daughter looks like my son. Her hair is lighter, curly and she looks Caucasian. Yet both are bi racial. And they have a Jewish last name. So…as you can see, Identification can be very confusing. Until teachers meet the parents they are always confused. My daughter in law got embarrassed because when the kids were little everyone thought she was their auPair not their mom. I think We worry too much about how we identify or label people.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, I understand. Yes, I understand about Lesley being Great British. I worry sometimes about mispronouncing students names-nowadays with names like Ta’keya,-do you stress the T, the K? Better just to ask. Sometimes people are easy to work with and others make you feel like a fool. I enjoyed your story about being called for the draft.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You hit on a very important point. We worry too much about how we label and/or identify, and not enough time in just being respectful and good.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Why not just ask when you meet someone new? Rather the scheduler knows or not is it inappropriate to simply ask Jane Doe yourself when you meet them? Same with stating clearly on your own file what preference you personally have. Just because there isn’t a box to check doesn’t mean you can’t designate.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Realistically, how many people do you think are going to ask people when they meet them what their preference is? And, I’ve told people in doctors offices/pother situations that my preferred title is Ms. not Mrs. and yet….no one marks that down either…my dental tech of 1O years calls me Mrs. every six months and when she calls her appointment…and she’s younger than me so it’s not an age thing. Now, do I get irked with her and point it out, or do I let it slide?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Realistically…not many will ask, unless you are a person who is aware that not everyone identifies as binary and conscientiously makes the effort. Same situation with how you are addressed. If the person greeting you is aware of whatever preference you have, and they should be, then they should follow through. As to how you respond, perhaps that depends on your mood for the day 😉 Seriously though, I think it’s about individual effort on everyone’s part. Those that don’t care, won’t. It’s way to soon to be forcing everyone to comply, but I think the effort is appreciated by those who designate differently.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If I listed all the things I’m called though I prefer not to be…like my mil wanted my niece and nephews to call me Aunt LA, though I HATE being called aunt. Or when someone calls me Madam or Ma’am, which I hate with a passion. I’m thinking we all wear badges. Mine will say Goddess, because really, that’s the only way I want to referenced.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. In my personal opinion this has all gotten out of hand and it’s not the world I envisioned seeing my grandchildren live in. Why are we just following the masses and changing things to make someone else feel better or to not “offend.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I do wonder if this is an emperors new clothes situation…people are afraid to say what they think because it might offend someone, yet appear to go along with the masses. In my mind, we either do it or we don’t. To have this washy washiness abound is ridiculous

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Maybe I’m being insensitive to this issue, but as a female growing up with the name Lesley I WANT people to know I’m a woman. I’m sick to death of everyone assuming I’m a man because of my name. And if I go somewhere for an appointment, I generally prefer to speak to an over 40 female. Why? I feel more comfortable with a person with life experiences, and like to speak personally with women because more often than not they can relate to me better. ( Yes my oncologist is male, but he’s currently the best in his field and so I didn’t discriminate by his gender.)
    Anyhow, since growing up I was labeled on paperwork Male from elementary school through college. I want to be identified as a girl! When I was younger, until I walked into class I got so tired of teachers being surprised that I was female because of my name. By the time I reached high school I had to go in person to gym class and reschedule everything. Just a Reminder for you young people, back in the 1960’s boys and girls had separate gym classes. And the joke in high school was always… coach please let her shower with us. It was embarrassing and awful as a young teenager. Ugh!

    In 1967 I had to go the local draft Board because the United States government wanted Mr. Lesley Kluchin to register for the draft during the height of the Vietnam war. So I put on a mini skirt, Twiggy eye makeup and went downtown to show them in person that Lesley wasn’t a guy. 🤬
    In college all the same stuff happened.
    To this day, I still receive mail addressed to Mr. So for me I want everything to say MS. LESLEY … I want those female pronouns.
    I have already planned ahead for my funeral but I still worry that my obituary will refer to me as a he! Yes, he was a wonderful teacher… bla bla bla. Bring back pronouns. And let people tell you who they are. I’ve been female since birth. However, I was given a gender neutral name. My mom used the female spelling but the world still assumes I’m male. Pronouns were created for a reason. I want to be referred to as she and Ms. I am woman hear me roar!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I wonder how public schools or government programs will get their funding. I always had to identify (every school year) the number of boys and girls in my class and the ethnic background of each child. It always irked me but that is how public education gets funded. And judged or graded. That’s how schools are rated. (A through F)it’s bizarre but an evenly distributed school tends to get better funding than poor schools with less diversity. Crazy and unfair right? Why? Their test scores are usually higher. The whole thing is unfair.
        Race has changed significantly to include more races and multi racial rather than bi racial. I imaging gender will be another box added to Check for neutral children.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t encountered it either. Yet…every tv show now talks about it. I want everyone to be comfortable. But I don’t want to be referred to as Mrs., nor ma’am or madam. So where do we go from here?

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  7. 😡Grr don’t get me started on this Liberal nonsense cause it’s getting well out of hand over here! The human mammal is either sexed male or female at birth, put a human skeleton in front of a doctor and he’ll tell you if it’s a he or she end of……..in my book gender fluidity is lol a load of bs and we’re all to blame for playing along instead of saying you’re either male or female exed at birth. HOWEVER before someone labels me small minded, whether you’re gay bi or straight it’s all good with me 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I like Mrs. and never liked Ms. I watched an episode of “The Kominsky Method” on Netflix last night and there was a scene where Morgan Freeman was in a new show and he was binary using “they” pronouns (he was a medical examiner doing an autopsy). The dialogue between he and his assistant was so confusing because he kept having to correct her. At the end he asked Michael Douglas, who was watching, if he understood what they were talking about. Michael Douglas said it was hard for him to follow. Morgan Freeman said, “That’s what I told the writers. You can’t assume that everybody is going to know about pronouns.” It was pretty funny. Your posts are always so timely! PS. If you haven’t seen the “Kominsky Method” I highly recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I tend to see what the person is comfortable with, and if this person corrects me, I don’t take offence. Pronouns are important. Now if it’s listed anywhere on paperwork you sure as hell I will do my best to use correct ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s my thing: I’ve said merry Christmas to people and been told off (which people will say never happens) I have yet to have anyone mad at me for possibly identifying them wrong. There’s a point where we separate people more than we bring together. I almost feel stupid asking people how they want to be identified, and I think more people take offense to being asked

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The current pronouns confuse me. I remember when A.D. and B.C. were replaced by C.E. and B.C.E. in my kids elementary school. That confused me, too. I also can’t stand being called ma’am.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Personally I have no problem with whichever gender a person prefers. However, as an educator, a writer, and an editor, the use of “they” in reference to one person is simply grammatically incorrect and grates like fingernails on a chalkboard. APA lists numerous alternatives available to avoid gender identification, but for some odd reason, “they” is sticking. Additionally, this makes it very difficult for language learners. The English language is difficult enough without such pronoun confusion. I’m not a dinosaur, truly. I love new words and quirky expressions, but “they” will always refer to more than one person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t like how it sounds when I write or speak either. It’s overly confusing to me, and somehow seems less respectful. And I don’t care how someone identifies or whatever, but we should come up with a better word and adhere to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. We used zoom this year for teaching and students got into the habit of listing their pronouns with their preferred name. I’m really good with the “he/she” preferences but the “they” throws me every time. I got called out once (very nicely) when I messed up on a she for a he. I apologized and said I would try to do better. It’s the best I can do, C

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So, kind of what was said above…I’ve not met one person who is non-binary who uses the pronoun thing; they are all hetero/cis-gender, AND they are usually academics or educators. Not one person, who I think this was created for uses it…I’m sure someone does. I just haven’t met them yet.

    Can we discuss the term BIPOC next?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I hate anything that labels. Labels divide…which is also problematic. And I don’t see things getting any better…it’s like we put a big tablecloth on the table, but the table is still scratched and in disrepair…but people keep,saying what a wonderful tablecloth…does that make sense?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I get it. I just want to know who asked for the pronouns? If the community itself asked for that, then I’m happy to use them. If not, then what are we really doing 🧐

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I think in a few it won’t be an issue because I was alive when we didn’t have to disclose our age. I think there will be a time e we won’t have to reveal our “what we were born as” status. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mmmmmm. This is a very hot topic today, and while it is for very good reason, and I totally get it, and support it, I also worry that we are becoming so concentrated on these “facts” about ourselves, that we are losing connection with each other. I actually just had a conversation with someone about this recently, so have been reflecting, and will continue to…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That is exactly it, LA. In one of your posts last week, different topic, yet related, cannot remember the topic, we discussed a similar concept, and I fear that we are actually making things worse; continually pushing ourselves into smaller and smaller categories, labels, distinctions, etc. Can we talk about the things that we have in common, that we have and are that are similar to each other. Connection exists in the latter, and divisiveness, as possible, in the former….don’t know, my friend…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s my whole point…we keep “doing” things but we aren’t improving things…we seem to create more problems. People are always going to feel marginalized. We need to work on people feeling better about themselves…find ways to make people shine…

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I find this whole thing silly. A neighbor is moving to Finland and her son told me they have one word for ‘he’ or ‘she.’ If we had known this would be such an issue, we should’ve gone with that approach in English.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My tiny little mind only has so much room, and I’m choosing to ignore the whole pronoun debate. I’ll call people whatever they want me to call them, if they take the time to tell me. But otherwise, I’ll just do the best I can. As to picking what to be called, I’m with you: why bother with he or she, when you can choose Goddess? I tried to get my grandson to call me “Goddess of Youth and Beauty” but he just calls me, “Gamma” and I’m okay with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just want to be treated with respect. People to say please and thank you and have patience. And I want everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin….and I don’t want to offend anyone…but yeah…I try…but so many think it’s not enough

      Liked by 1 person

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