It has taken me years to settle into my identity, but I am now comfortable saying that I am a nonbinary trans person. I have called myself a “nonbinary woman” in the past, because in spite of my personal gender identity, I am perceived as female by most everyone, and that shapes how people treat me. I will always deal with misogyny, regardless of my gender, because I am FAAB (female assigned at birth) and will always be perceived by most as a woman, simply because of my appearance. This perception does not bother me enough to correct everyone, primarily because I do not feel safe doing such a thing. I wish everyone could just know and understand my gender, but that’s not the world we live in. The world we live in is one where trans people are victimized, and that’s something I live in fear of. Taking this step, saying this publicly here, this is huge to me. This is me putting myself on the chopping block and asking everyone to put down the knife.
Still, in spite of a general fear of how strangers may treat me, I am making the effort to use gender-neutral pronouns, not just for myself, but in general. I am tired of misgendering people on an assumption that is as faulty with anyone else as it is with me. I’m tired of calling everyone with breasts “she” and everyone without “he,” as if it’s really that simple. I’m tired of seeing exterior markers of stereotypically gendered characteristics and (egotistically) making the assumption that I can know a person’s gender. I can’t, and I don’t want to make that mistake.
So, everyone is “ze” or “they” to me now. And I ask that others use ze/zir/zirs or they/them/theirs for me (or really any gender-neutral pronouns, I’m not picky). This is going to be difficult to implement, and I apologize in advance for the million times I will fuck this shit up. I might misgender you. I will misgender myself. I will not be able to implement this flawlessly, but that does not mean it should be abandoned. I am going to try my damnedest to make this work, and that includes using these pronouns at work. I am an English educator, and I’m making a huge change to my linguistics; that cannot be done in a vacuum. This is something that will take purposeful implementation, explanation, and discussion, but I trust the maturity of my students, and hope I might even open a few minds with this. Above all, though, I hope I am offering a safety blanket to those who are nonbinary, who are trans and using alternate pronouns, who are binary but assumed the wrong gender. Those marginalized people, they are the ones I am doing this for. Because I want the world to have one less hostile person in it–me.