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goobster  ·  55 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: It's the International Trans Day of Visibility. I'm Trans. Ask Me Almost Anything

In so many of these discussions, I get lost almost instantly. I have 6 or 7 friends who do not identify with their birth gender, to differing degrees. To me they are just Scotland, and Alex, and Deanna, and Kiki, and Caro, and Evie, and... whatever. You get the point.

But in your post I am lost by the second sentence when you say, "I'm a trans woman."

I have no idea what that means. A man in a woman's body? Or vice-versa? Sure, I have a 50% chance of guessing right - "I'm a woman in a man's body" - but I had to scour your posts to find your mention of a beard before I could be sure what that meant. It honestly took me something like 10 minutes of looking through your posts to find something that clearly indicated your birth gender, so I could interpret the "trans woman" phrase, and know what gender pronoun to use. And that's kinda ridiculous.

Am I being insensitive? A typical white middle-class American male? Maybe.

On the other hand, your gender is way more important to you than it is to me. I honestly don't give a shit one way or the other. We aren't dating, and that's the only time your gender means anything to me.

The fact you were "once a guy", or "a guy in a girl's body", or any other permutation has absolutely zero impact on our relationship, and only becomes relevant if you decide to take offense at my use of a gendered pronoun. I have no idea what a "coffeesp00ns" is... male, female, or otherwise.

I call Scotland "dude" because I'm from California, and she and I have that kind of comfort in our relationship. I call Deanna "Studley" because... well, it's her last name, and she's more male than I am... but still identifies as female. I regularly screw up Evie's name because we used to work very closely together and I knew her as Tom for years, and I confuse her porn star name with her chosen female name because they are both "not Tom" in my head.

Am I Insensitive?

The real question is, am I rude or inconsiderate or diminishing if I don't remember your gender preference and preferred pronoun to put in front of "coffeesp00ns"?

I'm honestly asking. I have no idea of ooli or War or rd95 or snoodog's gender, and only know Elizabeth's and Lil's because of their names, and know kleinbl00's because I know the guy in person.

So while it is important for me to walk carefully in the world, and to be sensitive to other people's needs and preferences, I gotta wonder if the gendering of anybody is really of material value. Isn't this just another way to "other" someone? A new class we can pigeonhole people into, so we don't have to deal with them as a person, rather as a cardboard cutout?

In short, each of us has our identity that is important to us. But how important should it be to others?

I know... weird open-ended question, but it seems like the people here, participating in this post, in this little corner of the internet, might have some interesting things to say about this....

... I know I'm all ears...