Gender Identity & Pronouns

Discussion in 'General Education' started by EdEd, Oct 16, 2021.

  1. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 16, 2021

    Hi folks,

    Background
    Used to be fairly regular here but haven't been by in a while. Hoping to encourage myself to come back more.

    I had a conversation with a few folks the other day about gender and pronouns, and thought I'd see if we could make a go of a fairly controversial, but important, topic: Gender identity & pronouns (not the same, but related).

    First, some background: I've been involved in education for over 20 years, having mostly worked in community-based support programs for kids with more intensive educational and psychosocial needs. I'm a school psychologist by background, so that's my angle. In the past year or three I've stepped back a bit from more direct service, and am now doing more consulting and indirect work, so I'm at a loss in terms of "on the ground" experience with this issue in more recent years.

    All that out of the way, I wanted to post some thoughts on gender identity and pronoun use to get some insight from educators. I'd love to have my perspective broadened. I've thought a decent amount about this, but something sits a bit uneasy with me as I'm always wanting to be the most supportive and inclusive of students as I can be, and I know that my current thoughts are less inclusive of what certain students may think about this issue. As a final piece of background info, I primarily work with elementary school students, so certainly this topic may have different ramifications for high schools students, etc.

    Topic
    We're all familiar with how gender identity and pronoun usage has become a more salient topic recently, and I'm not sure I think a movement by our society toward adopting a theory of gender fluidity and chosen pronouns is either accurate or helpful.

    First, I firmly believe in gender fluidity from the perspective that one's gender should not and does not determine personality, preferences, behavior, etc. As we would traditionally use the word, "men" and "women" are not defined by those terms of constructs. While research has most certainly identified certain things (e.g., test scores, behavior) that are more common in one gender vs the other, and while this research is still relevant, gender (as opposite to sex) is socially constructed - meaning that gender is more than simply "sex" or genitalia (which itself has more diversity from a biological perspective than we previously knew). As such, any differences that may be found between genders cannot be dissociated with the fact that we have invented and fostered gender. In other words, we aren't studying some sort of natural phenomenon if we are studying the differences in graduate rates between males and females - we are studying how graduation rates differ based on gender constructs that we have created. It's not to say that we shouldn't study or understand those differences, or that there aren't any biological contributions to gender differences, but we need to understand that, to a large extent, studying gender involves a bit of circular reasoning and shifting targets. Society could change (and is currently attempting to change) gender constructs, and as such it may be very likely that perceived gender differences change as well.

    A core part of this philosophy of gender fluidity is that personality is not determined by gender. On a group level, it may be possible to identify ways in which our social constructions of gender may influence personality, behavior, etc. with some people, but - removing the influence of social constructions of gender on sex - simply having certain genitalia or DNA does not, by and large, contribute to personality. As such, as a child continues to develop, individual personality is certainly influenced by social constructs such as race & gender, but they are not defined by it. This goes both directions - membership of a particular group (e.g., women) do not all share common personality characteristics, and one's personality characteristics do not determine gender. For example, if we identify a personal characteristic of being "sensitive," not all women are sensitive, and being sensitive does not mean that person is a woman.

    The implications of this from a gender identity perspective, when coming from the way I'm thinking about this, are pretty clear: If personality cannot be associated with gender, what are we talking about when someone says they "identify as a ______?" What are the elements of identity that are being used by the individual to identify as a particular gender? With those elements, are there then universally agreed-upon elements of identity that are associated with a particular gender, or is it up to personal definition. For example, if I identify as a woman, am I personally deciding what elements of my identity lead me to being a woman? Could another person use the same components of personality, emotionality, etc. to identify themselves as a "man."

    If this last part is true, and everything is relative, then my perspective is that we've rendered the construct of gender useless - being a "man" or a "woman" means nothing at all other than simply a collection of "things" that the person has individually identified. It communicates nothing. Moreover, it's completely redundant - in those situations, individually constructed and defined gender identity is simply individual identify. Calling personality "gender" offers no further level of specificity beyond "personality."

    Whether we like it or not, these are active conversations we're having as a people - we're now in the middle of a conversation about what we do with the construct of gender. My weigh-in is that moving toward the concept of gender as a stand-in for personality is neither helpful nor accurate. When I was younger, me and my liberal friends very much wanted to move away from the idea that gender defined anything about us. Of course, the goal of not wanting gender to define us is different from reality - the reality is that women have had less opportunities than men in certain areas, and of course many more things. But our vision was that gender was essentially rendered irrelevant - that being a woman or man meant whatever you wanted it to mean. In this way, we shared a lot with modern day folks advocating a progressive gender identity construct. The core difference, from what I see, is that I'd prefer us to move away from gender as defining identity, with more current thought being that we should lean into gender as a way of structuring our identities.

    The education and child development implications are pretty significant - by our society moving towards gender as a means of conceiving of, defining, and structuring personality & identify, we're introducing an entirely new structure to psychology. We're advocating for a big move away from previous ways of thinking about identity, and attempting to package entire swaths of psychology into "gender." Note that we already do this - ADHD is simply a socially constructed idea to label common experiences of certain people. ADHD is a vehicle of communication, organization, and categorization we use as humans to explain things w'ere experiencing and observing. Doing so has vast implications - we assume that all kids with ADHD must share certain characteristics, respond to particular strategies, etc. Maybe we're more accurate with current definitions of ADHD (debatable), but think about how we've been so wrong in the past - thinking of kids who are left-handed as "sinistrality," kids with epilepsy as being "possessed," and autism being caused by "refrigerator mothers." Even think of the idea of Aspergers more recently - the latest DSM revision has removed it entirely, meaning that a label, disorder, identity component, etc. that we used for a long time has all of sudden been dismantled - it no longer technically exists.

    Gender identity is simply another one of these "vehicles" - a way of organizing our understanding of ourself and creating terms and labels to communicate them. I've not seen any evidence that any particular construct of gender must exist - that it is a scientific reality that we've just come up with a name for. Just as being of Chinese descent is a biological/geographical characteristic, but being "Chinese" from a cultural perspective is an artifact of social construction, any attempt to structure or define "gender" beyond pure biological definitions is our choice.

    So...here's the essential question: Is gender really the vehicle we want to all invest in to structure identity moving forward? Do we really want the primary way we refer to ourselves (via pronouns) to be gender? Do we really want for gender to be in the drivers seat? How would we feel if we came up with different pronouns based on race or ethnicity, for example? Wouldn't we see that as regressive and a step backwards if our goal is to allow for the fullest control and autonomy of the individual to determine identity?

    The alternative solution rather than a hyper-focus on gender identity and associated pronouns would be a move in the complete opposite direction - the removal of gender as a construct we're investing in to communicate our identity. The "Latinx" concept is relevant here - while still a bit cumbersome, it attempts to remove gender from the conversation, rather than investing in further segmentations of it.

    While I haven't explicitly mentioned chosen pronouns, I think their connection here is pretty obvious: Why are we wanting to redefine our language so as to invest even more heavily into gender as a construct?

    Again tying this back to school psychology and education, what are the implications for the expectations we have of children if we want to redefine and hyper invest in gender as a vehicle for identity? What are the expectations for a sixth grader related to gender identity - is this something that we're expecting our kids to "figure out?" Do kids need to go through a process, even if less directly, of "discovering their gender." If this is a completely artificial construct, what benefit does this have for students? What burdens do these expectations lay at the feet of students who are already burdened with so much child development over the years? Having a passive option of opting out of a default status and opting into a different one (similar to how a transgender student opts out of one "gender" or "sex" and into another, yet the default option requires no choice) is one thing (perhaps good, perhaps not). But requiring a student to actively choose a pronoun implies and communicates an expectation that the student make some sort of choice in the situation. It implies that part of growing up is choosing a pronoun, and therefore a gender. It forces them to see themselves and their personality through a social lens that others have constructed for them. It is social engineering - not in the sense of forcing a particular choice, but forcing that a choice must be made.

    To me, these things are very dangerous. At the very least, we ought to have a conversation - an open and inclusive conversation - about these things. We should not assume that any one group or person gets to redefine these things how they choose, then label others who disagree as insensitive, not understanding, or against any particular person. In other words, while I have my thoughts on the matter, and am certainly wanting to expand my understanding, I do not believe that whatever I personally want to happen related to gender identity should be forced upon others.

    So, now that I've written my book on a Saturday morning (turned afternoon), for the 2-3 of you out there that actually read this, what additional perspectives should I consider? Where am I wrong? How I can be a better educator, school psychologist, and human being as I think through these things?
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
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  3. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Oct 17, 2021

    I agree with your post 100%. I'm not sure where we go from here, not only as educators, but as a society. I have no words of wisdom, but only agreement with your thoughts.
     
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  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Excellent post, EdEd. I agree 100% with what you said.
    The following quote is exactly how I felt for a long while now. I also spent my life trying to move away from "sex" stereotypes in a push to say that "sex" did not define people's choices of style, job choices, dress style, etc. It seems now that society is pushing to stereotype behaviors into "genders" rather than "sex".
    The mid 1900s when social scientists decided to take grammatical gender terms and use them to discuss social constructs and it caught on it started to bring about confusion in discussion. This is a common strategy. Make words have multiple meanings, it becomes easier to push ideas. With the advent of the internet and increasing ability to spread ideas and a push away from true critical thinking in society, we arrive here. To make matters worse, it even goes beyond pronouns now. Any notion of a biological term for the person's body is being wiped away too. In fact, almost every word that was once used to mean "biological sex", has been replace to mean gender.

    I believe the conversation would be much easier to have if there were different terms that differentiated biological sex from gender. Then people could speak on the topic with much less confusion.

    I have a non-binary relative who I avoid all conversations about this topic. The relative will say "sometimes I feel like a boy and sometimes I feel like a girl" and therefore decided that non-binary is the way to go. The relative is offended if you forget to use they as the pronoun and conversations with other relatives become convoluted because the switch from singular they and plural they is rarely properly re-introduced as the conversation flows. So, how does someone know what someone of the opposite biological sex feels like? What is actually meant by sometimes I feel like a boy and sometimes like a girl? Doesn't it really mean that sometimes I like to do stereotypical things of the male/female sex? Seems it is no different than what we said, but we didn't try to ruin the language doing so.

    I'm ok with people pushing to bring back "gender" stereotypes if that is what they really want, but I sure wish those wanting to do so created different words instead of co-opting words that already had specific meanings. I know, I know, language changes, but those changes aren't always for the better. I do think it is hypocritical, though, to push for these defining boxes when people are at the same time pushing for no one to be put in a box. I'd be perfectly find with my relative's pronouns being xi and instead of being a xxxx is a xall or a gim or a ber (whatever pronouns and new words can be accepted). And I hope when my relative goes to the doctor and checks the box, the choices are male, female, intersex. Biological differences do exist in medicine.

    Questions I have are: why is it so important to co-opt existing terms that once meant "sex" to mean gender and how is that beneficial to having your ideas accepted?
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
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  5. EdEd

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    The co-opting of language is also really problematic for me as well, and I think it often leads to more problems than not. I think this is part of what the "anti-PC" crowd is getting at. Don't get me wrong - I think some of those folks are attempting to hide hate, racism, etc. behind language (or sometimes much more directly), then essentially trying to blame the victim for "being too sensitive." But, I think some folks do have a problem with the idea that, rather than directly addressing content, we're attempting to change language to circumvent it. Person-first language and similar euphemistic approaches come to mind. Again, I totally agree that terms that are intentionally used in a hateful manner should not be used, but often times we are attempting to garner more respect for people by changing language use.

    For example, I totally understand the concept behind a "person experiencing homelessness" and a "person who is homeless" - one conveys a more temporary vs permanent condition. However, why don't we work to change our actual understanding of homelessness as something that is temporary or not definitional of a person. If we all understand that, then those various ways of phrasing things lose any negative power because they no longer refer to any way that we actually think about things.

    That said, sometimes we do need a catalyst or tool to promote change, so perhaps various forms of person first language are warranted?

    Either way, I think this is different from trying to restructure the very concepts themselves - attempting to change language to reflect gender is different from actually changing gender constructs themselves. In this way, I'm a bit more concerned with pronoun usage because of the implications, not really because I care about the letters I use to describe someone.
     
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  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Yeah, then there's that - what do we do about it? I know for me, I'm starting to become more vocal - not for the sake of starting arguments or proving anything, but just to demonstrate that different people can care about different groups of people in different ways - while disagreeing with strategies or tools used to express concern for people. Today, I think too many people are afraid to express dissent out of fear of being called names or labeled as hateful. All this does is build resentment within people, squashes conversation and therefore growth, and drives the entire issue underground. To me, as someone who greatly cares about the dignity and power of different disenfranchised groups of people, my fear is that some of the good work being done today will be undone due to hijacking by more extreme folks who pressure people into thought conformity. Eventually, my fear is that people will say, "if that's what DEI means, I want nothing to do with it," or "if that's what "me too" is about, count me out." To me, that's tragic - there's a lot of work we have to do in a lot of areas.
     
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  7. Backroads

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    This was an excellent read.

    I've been concerned with it in younger grades. I highly doubt most young children are coming to these gender identity questions on their own and wonder if parents are pushing the question and causing confusion.

    Identity shouldn't be fluid. one's interests are as welcome to be as changing as they wish, and I have no issue with anyone adopting for their own any characteristic from across the spectrum of traditional gender interests.

    But when it causes distress of an identity? That's worrisome.
     
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  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 17, 2021

    This is a lot to chew on and really ponder before I post a response, but I'm glad you're back, EdEd. I value your in-depth posts and discussions.
     
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  9. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    I'm going to toss in a key idea that hasn't been mentioned in this thread yet: body dysmorphia. Feeling that one is not the gender one is being told one is is not based solely the idea of gender, being a social construct and all, but often a disconnect or feeling of mismatch between inside and outside. I can't possibly speak for everyone, but all of my trans friends suffered from various levels of body dysmorphia before transitioning. Their idea of self never matched what the world saw. Even the people I know who haven't surgically transitioned have taken other steps to make their outward presentation come closer to their inner perception, whether that's been taking hormones, wearing binders, voice/speech modification training, weightlifting, etc.

    As for handling the issue in school, IMO we shouldn't necessarily be introducing the ideas with young children, but supporting the children we have as they choose to present. We should be minimizing forcing gender constructs and separating by gender. I have strong memories of one teacher pitching a fit at me because I had been playing with two male classmates at recess. "Little girls do NOT play with little boys!" Forcing separation was stupid and harmful.
     
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  10. EdEd

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    Thanks. And I wouldn't even be against something being introduced just because it causes stress. For example, I think we should be focusing more on understanding how our demographic roles contribute to power and equality in society - how does me being a man result in privilege, disadvantage, difference in perspective, etc. These can and often are uncomfortable questions, and I'm guessing we're both totally cool with these things. But we should be sure that these things are actually important, real, and helpful if we're going to engage in them, and I'm not sure gender identity meets those criteria.
     
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  11. EdEd

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    Thanks catnfiddle - much appreciated, and sorry to disrupt your Sunday night with lots of chewing ;)
     
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  12. EdEd

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    Thanks for bringing this up, and I totally agree. My trans friends have used similar descriptions, and it would be really hard to not be supportive of them in their journeys as they seem (from an outside perspective) very difficult, and very real. I do think this is related to and part of gender identity, but am not entirely sure how, or entirely how it's different. It does seem like some people, as you mentioned, experience gender related to physicality, whereas some others do not. I wonder how this might change my opinion.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Viola are you implying that the body dysphoria experienced by trans people is the same as the mental illness of anorexia with the difference being in treatment? Anorexics are forced to face their dysphoria because giving into it will cause death but "biological sex" dysphoria the current push is to go with the dysphoria and accept it as reality.
     
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  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I think you found your next thread!
     
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  15. MrTempest

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    I enjoyed the post and felt the thoughts were very well thought out and laid out your perspective nicely. That said, I must admit I still do not completely buy into what was presented.

    Consider this, take everything that EdEd said but replace any reference to women with “tall people” and references to men with “short people.” Then swap out gender with “height.” Now we are working with terms like “height norms” and “height fluidity.” No matter the context, there will be certain truths about any given physical attribute whether it is height, weight, race, or gender. And then beyond that is these truths are subject to change depending on developments in society. The problem is when you try to put your finger on something that is ever-changing. I am 6’ 2” and have never played basketball. That doesn’t stop the fact when I go to a nursing home there is always some random elderly person who tries to make small talk with me by saying, “I bet you use to play basketball in school.” Should I get offended by the prejudiced remarks made by this geriatric person? How dare he, ahem, they assume I played basketball just because I am tall! Moreover, should I reflect on my feelings that because I did not aspire for the NBA that maybe I identify as short?

    Admittedly these references to height are somewhat absurd. Yet the question should be is there more similarity, than we want to admit, when comparing it to the perceived norms of society on implications of physical attributes like height and gender? Being tall definitely has an impact on who I am as a person. If you think you have a hard time fitting in a coach-class airline seat always remember that there is always someone taller who has it worse. I cannot count how many low-hanging lights I have accidentally hit. And apparently, I married into a family of hobbits because after holiday meals my mother-in-law always summons me to put dishes away on the high shelves. No matter the effect my height has had on me it fails to compare to the impact being born a man has had on me. Any attempt to dissuade that one’s physical attributes do not belong in the discussion of who someone is as a person is flat-out silly.


    Instead of searching for complex rationales and trying to find ways to counter the perceptions of the masses we ought to focus on something simpler. And that would be, one, accepting there are multiple truths, and then two, being accepting of those truths. In today’s world, this is easier said than done. Think about the crazy world of politics where we are pressured to be either for a person or against him. Be either left or right, blue or red. When the fact is no one is totally blue or red. In politics, we are all various shades of purple and for some reason not enough people are comfortable saying such. Even a statement transgender woman may say, “I was born a man but feel like a woman,” is inherently flawed in any case against gender norms. Think about it, this person is disagreeing with a definition of what it is to be male because they feel they better align with a definition of what it is to be a woman. There is not a problem with the dictionary, there is a perceived problem with interpretation and perception. It is not realistic, nor advantageous to any discussion, to have countless definitions to any common term, let alone fault someone because they are still citing last year’s edition of Websters.

    The bottom line, changing definitions will do little good in any case. Look how that panned out in the naming of Special Education. Oh, the kids are using the term “slow” (or heaven forbid the r-word) as a negative and derogatory term; whatever can we do? I know, we will swap out the word “slow” with one that can never be used to hurt anyone’s feelings! From now on we will not use the word slow, we will use the word “special!” The problem is not with the definition it is with perception. And if we want to change how others perceive something or someone how can we even begin to accomplish this if we can’t even agree on a definition of what we are trying to change.
     
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  16. EdEd

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    Oct 19, 2021

    @MrTempest I'm not sure we're off in some respects, with the main difference being that I think the immutable physical characteristics you're speaking of have to do more with what we've often called sex, and less to do with what we call gender, which is not some sort of static biological trait. "Being a man" means different things in different cultures, subcultures, and even for an individual. There's no universally agreed upon set of characteristics for "being a man," so how can this be a truth?

    That said, when you say that there are multiple truths and that we need to be accepting of them, I agree, and would take that to mean that because there are no universal definitions, we all have a perception which becomes our own "truth," and we should be respecting of them. This is different, though, from expecting the rest of society to adopt your/my truth.
     
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  17. Ms.Holyoke

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    I have noticed that there are a lot of my students who are gender fluid or are transitioning at my school. We have like 8 students who use they as a pronoun and about 2 students in every grade level who are transgender.
    Has anyone else noticed this?
    I am of course supportive of them but I do wonder why there are so many students recently.
     
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  18. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Because its trendy right now.
     
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    And nothing will be used more than something that is both trendy and maybe even a little provocative. :cool:
     
  20. Backroads

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    Trendy may be the most adequate if not most accurate word.

    I don't think there's so much gender dysphoria as there is greater social acceptance (and the reward of trend) to explore further along the spectrum of gender stereotypes.

    (I tend to believe if that unless you consistently align, publicly or closeted, with one social construct of gender for a majority of your life, no, you're not suddenly a different gender)
     
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  21. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I strongly disagree that gender identity / fluidity / dysphoria is more visible because it is "trendy". That goes right up there the concept that nobody in my high school was gay back in the 1980s and 1990s (in reality, one of my classmates was on the first season of "The Real L Word"). The difference is that as we evolve as a society, people who have always been with us are freer to talk about who they are.
     
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  22. greendream

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    Definitely trendy.
     
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  23. Backroads

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    I think this is very true. But there's a difference between those who have always felt these ways and those who are exploring what could be considered new social norms. I think we're seeing a lot of both.
     
  24. Tyler B.

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    Welcome back, Eded.
    This is such an important topic. I've been feeling uncomfortable about some of the issues of pronouns, but not exactly clear why. Your essay has really brought the issues into focus.

    As educators, we need to show acceptance of all of our students, perhaps especially the ones who feel marginalized. However, having all of us put our preferred pronouns on our signatures might put pressure on children to try and figure out what gender, if any, they identify as. Also, if someone is embarrassed by their identity, they shouldn't be "outed" by our new signature conventions.

    I teach a night class at a nearby college, and all my students put their pronouns in their email signatures. I haven't done this yet, and worry that they might think I'm not accepting of my students. Perhaps I should use some class time to discuss this.

    What are some other ways we can signal acceptance of our students who dwell on the outskirts of the bell curve?
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Please define acceptance. Does that involve believing what they believe?
     
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  26. Tyler B.

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    If one of my college students tells me they identify as non-binary and want to be addressed as "they", then that's what I do. It's just polite whether I believe them or not.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Thanks, Tyler. I just wanted to understand what you mean by acceptance because not everyone has the same definition. I agree, treat students with respect. However, that doesn't mean that mistakes won't happen.
     
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  28. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I would agree that some are exploring new social norms because there is more acceptance to do so, and there are fewer overt negative experiences. That said, within our family we have one individual who is gay, and has struggled to be open about that. Current social norms have allowed this individual to be somewhat more open in expressing the current status, even though I know that individual still struggles to feel accepted. I suspect that the increasing acceptance of varied sexual orientations goes a long way in offering this individual some comfort, instead of being totally excluded. I have worked with several individuals who identified as gay, and they told me that their lives are much better now than 10 years ago - people are more accepting and less likely to exclude or judge. I find that growing acceptance to be a step in the right direction, personally.
     
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  29. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    One of the reasons I asked Tyler about acceptance is because of this sentence. Some people will not be content until others agree that their belief or behavior is correct. There are just some behaviors some people will never agree with, even though they will treat the person with civility and respect (not making negative comments, not behaving negatively towards them, or not treating them differently). Just the idea that the other does not think it their behavior or belief is correct is enough for them to never feel "accepted".
     
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  30. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I would say that within the family this individual is aware that while there is no name calling, or fingers pointing where blame should be assigned, there is knowledge about who will love you no matter what, versus who will be civil, but may tend to assign blame, which means there really isn't acceptance in these circumstances. Some family members believe it is such "a sin" that there is no way to be considered worthy of the type of unconditional love that existed before the gay family member was aware of how badly some people will treat those family members who are wired differently to love individuals of the same sex. Even though I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why some individuals are hard wired to love others of the same sex, I have had a pretty good look at how gay family members are treated within my own family.
     
  31. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Question, then. How far are you willing to go in the name of politeness? You are willing to use "they," but what about "demon"? If not, why not?

     
  32. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    greendream, I sense some antipathy on your part towards people who use unconventional pronouns. If that is so, you are reducing your effectiveness as an educator. Your students need to feel safe with you to get the most out of your teaching. Just like someone who wanted to be referred to as "demon" would reduce their effectiveness in all but a very limited school environment.

    I'm training educators at my college job. I tell my students that they need to fit in with the community they teach in. If they find themselves in a conservative rural community, they need to be subtle about any unconventional sexual orientation flags.

    I like to view myself as a considerate member of society who chooses politeness first. However, a high-functioning person does not let themselves be bullied. I would not use demon as a pronoun.
     
  33. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    This is one thing I have trouble with. Not that anyone would put their pronoun in their signature or what have you, but that it would ever become an expectation or requirement to do so. I don't know if that will become the socially responsible thing, but, forgive me for this, I do feel a little bothered that I am rude for not posting my pronouns.
     
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  34. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    There's a big difference between using they, which would be strictly conventionally incorrect English but generally acceptable in informal settings to apply to a singular subject of unknown gender well before the trans acceptance movement, and using demon (or any other noun) as a pronoun. In most settings, there is little confusion between singular and plural subjects because of cues like verb conjugations. The actual gender of a person isn't necessary information in most settings. Using an existing noun as a pronoun would cause significant confusion. If a student came to me and said they wanted to use a noun as their pronoun, I would say no on that basis and offer a variety of alternative pronouns or to just avoid using pronouns for that student by using their name as much as possible.

    I think we also need to clarify that there's a difference between accepting behaviors and affirming behaviors. You don't need to enthusiastically affirm a student's gender identity to be an effective educator. If you don't behave in accepting ways, you damage your relationship with that child. To me, it's no different to when my brother, who has never in his life gone by the diminutive of his name, had a teacher who insisted on calling him a shortened version. Things like name and gender identity are central to a sense of self, so to disregard that shows the child that you don't care.
     
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  35. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    That is a shame because I believe you should love someone unconditionally even if you think they are "in sin". But as I said, some think the act of thinking something is a sin means you love them less.
     
  36. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I'm generally all about the facts, so sometimes I have difficulty with people - family or friends - placing conditions on something that is, by definition, not subject to conditions in order to be true. Whether or not you like someone can be conditional - that's a given. But I believe that loving someone is "no matter what." The world would be much more honest if people really took the time to figure out whether they "really" love someone or something, versus really liking it a lot.
     
  37. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Meh. My one friend who has been out as non-binary is totally forgiving when I refer to them as "he/him". It's more out of love for this person than anything morally or politically correct when I adjust my wording.
     
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  38. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    To be honest (with the whole demon pronoun), I think young people (that’s usually who post these videos) are doing that for shock value. I really think they want to see how far they can push and people will still say “ok I respect that.” I have a friend whose teenage daughter has kids come to school as “furries.” They dress up as animals and ponies and say they identify as an animal. It could go on and on until someone says “ok. This isn’t real. No I’m not gonna call you that.” I think that demon video was for attention and just want to shock people. There’s a lot of videos like that. I have an 12 year old daughter and she has shown me the most ridiculous videos.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2021
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  39. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I believe the same thing. I can love someone even when I disagree with them. Example: A relative who decides to live with someone rather than get married. My religion says that is a sin, but that doesn't mean I don't love them even if they make that decision. However, the relative who moves in with someone instead of getting married may believe that as long as I think it is a sin, I am not accepting them.

    I just don't think loving someone means you agree with everything they do, believe, or think. But as I said, those doing the thing you don't agree with will often say they aren't accepted because to them, being accepted means you have to believe what they believe.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
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  40. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I absolutely agree.
     
  41. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    This is the same reason I won't use "they" as a pronoun for a single person.
     
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