Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Absolute Right to Choose Your Own Pronouns

 
I believe both in the right of individuals to express their personal pronoun preferences and in the right of other individuals to ignore them. It’s the same right in each case: the right of freedom of expression and it’s a right I hold dear. I understand that some folks in the trans movement would like to tell other people which words they can and can’t use. I don’t approve of that, because I really do believe in freedom of expression: the same freedom that lets a guy put on a dress and say “I’m a woman” lets me chuckle and say, “yeah, no. But let’s agree to disagree.” Live and let live. I know there are some men who like to dress up like women; there always have been. And I know there are people who are deeply confused about who and what they are. That’s too bad, but hardly new: troubled people have always been with us. What is new, and what I can’t abide, is this insistence that I go along with their fantasy. Everywhere else we disagree in this wonderful country, we stop short of telling other people to use our words, to profess our beliefs. We let people think differently, and we tolerate their expression of their ideas, of their differences, even if we find them odd, off-putting, or offensive. I believe that people are born either male or female and stay that way their whole lives, regardless of what they wear or what treatments they get. I think the trans movement is a silly often destructive fad and a way for people to avoid the stress of living up to their sex in a confused and sometimes challenging cultural climate. But, as I said, I respect the right, if not necessarily the choices, of people to express themselves as they wish, while retaining my own right to choose the pronouns I’ll use when referring to them. We don’t have to agree. We can just tolerate each other. I’m okay with that.

There are 44 comments.

  1. Randy Webster Member

    Henry Racette: I believe both in the right of individuals to express their personal pronoun preferences, and in the right of other individuals to ignore them

    You’re going to be in jail soon.

    • #1
    • April 14, 2019, at 8:13 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  2. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    Are you as bewildered as I am that this is even controversial?

    What I don’t understand is the people on the left who insist that he IS a woman. They know he’s not – they’re not all crazy. So what are they up to?

    • #2
    • April 14, 2019, at 8:47 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. EDISONPARKS Member

    I resolutely believe every person has the God given right to make ahrses of themselves in whatever odd Lefty nonsense du jour they can conjure up.

    I feel these are inadvertent Lefty ploys to purge the (D) Party of normal people and send them over to the Conservative/(R) point of view.

    • #3
    • April 14, 2019, at 8:53 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  4. Samuel Block Member

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Are you as bewildered as I am that this is even controversial?

    What I don’t understand is the people on the left who insist that he IS a woman. They know he’s not – they’re not all crazy. So what are they up to?

    I guess it depends on what we mean by crazy. Many are fatiguing themselves trying to make something fit that just will not. But I’m as curious as you to know what the rest have up their sleeves.

    • #4
    • April 14, 2019, at 9:41 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Taras Coolidge

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Are you as bewildered as I am that this is even controversial?

    What I don’t understand is the people on the left who insist that he IS a woman. They know he’s not – they’re not all crazy. So what are they up to?

     

    Their sense of self-worth is deeply involved in their moral superiority (self-defined). They need to adopt the latest fashion in progressive virtue.

    • #5
    • April 14, 2019, at 9:49 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. The Reticulator Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: I believe both in the right of individuals to express their personal pronoun preferences, and in the right of other individuals to ignore them

    You’re going to be in jail soon.

    The First Amendment is just a dog whistle for toxic masculinity, so it has to go.

    • #6
    • April 14, 2019, at 11:02 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. Paul Erickson Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: I believe both in the right of individuals to express their personal pronoun preferences, and in the right of other individuals to ignore them

    You’re going to be in jail soon.

    And if he encounters there a 250 pound hunk of muscle who goes by Sally, he better call him “her.”

    • #7
    • April 15, 2019, at 5:04 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. danok1 Member

    Henry Racette: What is new, and what I can’t abide, is this insistence that I go along with their fantasy. Everywhere else we disagree in this wonderful country, we stop short of telling other people to use our words, to profess our beliefs. We let people think differently, and we tolerate their expression of their ideas, of their differences, even if we find them odd, off-putting, or offensive.

    It seems I’m quoting this essay more and more:

    And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.

    This opens a breach in the imaginary encirclement caused by our inaction. It is the easiest thing to do for us, but the most devastating for the lies. Because when people renounce lies it simply cuts short their existence. Like an infection, they can exist only in a living organism.

    We do not exhort ourselves. We have not sufficiently matured to march into the squares and shout the truth our loud or to express aloud what we think. It’s not necessary.

    It’s dangerous. But let us refuse to say that which we do not think.

    (Emphasis added.)

    • #8
    • April 15, 2019, at 5:18 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. Stad Thatcher

    I believe my right to use whatever pronouns I want trumps the right of a person to be called by a particular pronoun. Freedom of speech means the person speaking has the right, not the one listening.

    • #9
    • April 15, 2019, at 5:42 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor

    They have no idea how fascistic their demands are: You will comply! It doesn’t even matter what we think; it only matters that we get in line and obey their demands. Seriously.

    • #10
    • April 15, 2019, at 5:58 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  11. Spin Coolidge

    Henry Racette: We can just tolerate each other. I’m okay with that.

    The problem, of course, is that “those folks” think you are intolerant if you don’t call them by their preferred pronoun.

    • #11
    • April 15, 2019, at 6:41 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Spin (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: We can just tolerate each other. I’m okay with that.

    The problem, of course, is that “those folks” think you are intolerant if you don’t call them by their preferred pronoun.

    Again, I’m okay with that.

    • #12
    • April 15, 2019, at 6:55 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  13. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

     I think a good first step would be to stop referring to them as transsexuals. They aren’t changing their sex, they’re changing their appearance. They’re transvestites.

    Nothing wrong with that.

     

    • #13
    • April 15, 2019, at 6:58 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Stad Thatcher

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I think a good first step would be to stop referring to them as transsexuals. They aren’t changing their sex, they’re changing their appearance. They’re transvestites.

    Nothing wrong with that.

     

    I know where you’re coming from. However, those who undergo reconstructive surgery are transsexual by (for lack of a better word) engineering rather than genetics. I will call those individuals a “he” or “she” based on the outcome of their surgery.

    • #14
    • April 15, 2019, at 7:08 AM PST
    • Like
  15. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I think a good first step would be to stop referring to them as transsexuals. They aren’t changing their sex, they’re changing their appearance. They’re transvestites.

    Nothing wrong with that.

     

    I know where you’re coming from. However, those who undergo reconstructive surgery are transsexual by (for lack of a better word) engineering rather than genetics. I will call those individuals a “he” or “she” based on the outcome of their surgery.

    I disagree. I think they’re simply transvestite overachievers. 

    • #15
    • April 15, 2019, at 7:11 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    I’ll go a little farther, and say that I also reserve the right to use someone’s “dead” name. Yeah, sure, people can change their names, but if it’s part of an attempt to claim you’re Jack when you’re actually Jill, I’m not going along with it. You’re still Jill to me, honey.

    • #16
    • April 15, 2019, at 7:51 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    I’ll go a little farther, and say that I also reserve the right to use someone’s “dead” name. Yeah, sure, people can change their names, but if it’s part of an attempt to claim you’re Jack when you’re actually Jill, I’m not going along with it. You’re still Jill to me, honey.

    I can go either way with that, though I understand your reasoning. Unlike sex, names really are arbitrary: I’m happy to call Jenner whatever his new name is (though I forget it). 

    • #17
    • April 15, 2019, at 7:57 AM PST
    • 1 like
  18. Quietpi Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I think a good first step would be to stop referring to them as transsexuals. They aren’t changing their sex, they’re changing their appearance. They’re transvestites.

    Nothing wrong with that.

     

    I know where you’re coming from. However, those who undergo reconstructive surgery are transsexual by (for lack of a better word) engineering rather than genetics. I will call those individuals a “he” or “she” based on the outcome of their surgery.

    I disagree. I think they’re simply transvestite overachievers.

    Changing the plumbing doesn’t change sex any more than replacing a tub with a shower changes water. It’s in the DNA, and evident in every other measure – the pelvis, the length of the fingers, naturally – occurring hormonal levels, any number of other internal organs. The indicators are many, even in situations of overlapping ranges in any single measurement. In a thousand years, if their skeleton is found, their sex will be determined in minutes.

    • #18
    • April 15, 2019, at 8:03 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. The Reticulator Member

    Taras (View Comment):

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Are you as bewildered as I am that this is even controversial?

    What I don’t understand is the people on the left who insist that he IS a woman. They know he’s not – they’re not all crazy. So what are they up to?

     

    Their sense of self-worth is deeply involved in their moral superiority (self-defined). They need to adopt the latest fashion in progressive virtue.

    My impression is that this is pretty close to the truth, but I’d suggest that it goes a step or two further. They want to show their superiority to you by making you bow to their demands. They want you to know your place. If everybody followed their pronoun diktats as a matter of normal social interchange, they’d have to find something else to use to put you in your place. It used to be called micro-aggression, but it’s going beyond micro now.

    By the way, last year in Poland my most frequent use of Polish was to ask whether the other person could speak English, using pan when addressing a man and pani for a woman. I don’t know if those are pronouns, strictly speaking, but they usually are translated into English as pronouns. Only once did I slip up and say pani instead of pan, and instantly corrected myself. Not only did the other party not call the police, but he didn’t show the slightest trace of annoyance that I could detect.

    • #19
    • April 15, 2019, at 8:42 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. Stad Thatcher

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I think a good first step would be to stop referring to them as transsexuals. They aren’t changing their sex, they’re changing their appearance. They’re transvestites.

    Nothing wrong with that.

     

    I know where you’re coming from. However, those who undergo reconstructive surgery are transsexual by (for lack of a better word) engineering rather than genetics. I will call those individuals a “he” or “she” based on the outcome of their surgery.

    I disagree. I think they’re simply transvestite overachievers.

    Haha! Good one!

    • #20
    • April 15, 2019, at 9:12 AM PST
    • Like
  21. Stad Thatcher

    Quietpi (View Comment):
    Changing the plumbing doesn’t change sex any more than replacing a tub with a shower changes water. It’s in the DNA, and evident in every other measure – the pelvis, the length of the fingers, naturally – occurring hormonal levels, any number of other internal organs. The indicators are many, even in situations of overlapping ranges in any single measurement. In a thousand years, if their skeleton is found, their sex will be determined in minutes.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the DNA determination.

    Again, I’m using a functional definition to accomodate their mental illness and treat them like human beings. If a person is taking hormones of their target sex, and they have undergone surgery resulting in an artificially constructed penis or vagina, I’m going to use the pronoun of their target sex.

    I think we’re getting wrapped around terminology here. Perhaps if we distinguish between a transsexual’s genetic sex (as defined by DNA and unchanged) and artificial sex (as defined by new plumbing), you’ll understand what I’m driving at. I won’t use the word “gender” because that’s a language construct.

    • #21
    • April 15, 2019, at 9:25 AM PST
    • Like
  22. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    Interesting discussion, but am I the only one who keeps thinking we are all spending a lot of time talking about something that can’t possibly come up enough times in your life to really bothering taking a strong position on it. 

    I’m 62, and I don’t remember ever running into a transexual, so I would have the opportunity to get into pronoun trouble. Maybe I just don’t get around much.

    We might as well all be perseverating about the proper etiquette for addressing an albino. Or a man with an eye patch. 

    Has anyone here ever heard, before a year ago, of a crossdresser and his problems with public restrooms? How did this become a thing, and not albino abuse or eye patch ridicule?

    • #22
    • April 15, 2019, at 10:02 AM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Interesting discussion, but am I the only one who keeps thinking we are all spending a lot of time talking about something that can’t possibly come up enough times in your life to really bothering taking a strong position on it.

    I’m 62, and I don’t remember ever running into a transexual, so I would have the opportunity to get into pronoun trouble. Maybe I just don’t get around much.

    We might as well all be perseverating about the proper etiquette for addressing an albino. Or a man with an eye patch.

    Has anyone here ever heard, before a year ago, of a crossdresser and his problems with public restrooms? How did this become a thing, and not albino abuse or eye patch ridicule?

    I completely understand why you would say that, and I would like to agree. But I can’t. I know several people whose teenage children are now pretending to be a sex other than the one they were born with. I have children in college who encounter this every day. 

    I was at Lowe’s this afternoon picking up some parts for my wet-dry vac, and the pretty young lady at check out wore a button informing me that her preferred pronouns were all masculine.

    The combination of silliness and fascistic insistence on compliance that characterizes the trans movement makes it, I think, worth opposing. 

    • #23
    • April 15, 2019, at 10:14 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. The Reticulator Member

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Interesting discussion, but am I the only one who keeps thinking we are all spending a lot of time talking about something that can’t possibly come up enough times in your life to really bothering taking a strong position on it.

    I’m 62, and I don’t remember ever running into a transexual, so I would have the opportunity to get into pronoun trouble. Maybe I just don’t get around much.

    We might as well all be perseverating about the proper etiquette for addressing an albino. Or a man with an eye patch.

    Has anyone here ever heard, before a year ago, of a crossdresser and his problems with public restrooms? How did this become a thing, and not albino abuse or eye patch ridicule?

    If you work at a university, you run into all kinds of people. I generally try to treat them respectfully, no matter how weird they appear to me at first. Sometimes I even got used to them. I wouldn’t want to let them tear down our Constitutional rights or destroy what once made our universities great, though.

    • #24
    • April 15, 2019, at 10:18 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. The Reticulator Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Interesting discussion, but am I the only one who keeps thinking we are all spending a lot of time talking about something that can’t possibly come up enough times in your life to really bothering taking a strong position on it.

    I’m 62, and I don’t remember ever running into a transexual, so I would have the opportunity to get into pronoun trouble. Maybe I just don’t get around much.

    We might as well all be perseverating about the proper etiquette for addressing an albino. Or a man with an eye patch.

    Has anyone here ever heard, before a year ago, of a crossdresser and his problems with public restrooms? How did this become a thing, and not albino abuse or eye patch ridicule?

    If you work at a university, you run into all kinds of people. I generally try to treat them respectfully, no matter how weird they appear to me at first. Sometimes I even got used to them. I wouldn’t want to let them tear down our Constitutional rights or destroy what once made our universities great, though.

    And I should add, that’s not the only place.

    • #25
    • April 15, 2019, at 10:19 AM PST
    • Like
  26. JamesSalerno Coolidge

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Has anyone here ever heard, before a year ago, of a crossdresser and his problems with public restrooms? How did this become a thing, and not albino abuse or eye patch ridicule?

    I worked with one about ten years ago. (s)He was a very big guy, deep voice, huge arms. We used to talk about muscle cars and stuff on smoke breaks. The thing is, he wasn’t even really putting any effort into the con. He carried a purse and wore a slightly stuffed bra. Never wore feminine clothes, just jeans and a t-shirt. Stubble. Could have passed for female hair but also could have just been a guy who rocked out to Great White. But (s)he always used the women’s restroom and it was really uncomfortable when someone not familiar with the workplace would call them “sir” or “he.”

    This is the grey area that really disturbs me about this entire phenomenon. 

    • #26
    • April 15, 2019, at 10:43 AM PST
    • Like
  27. Aaron Miller Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I think a good first step would be to stop referring to them as transsexuals. They aren’t changing their sex, they’re changing their appearance. They’re transvestites.

    Nothing wrong with that.

     

    I call them all crossdressers. And yes there is something wrong with that. 

    I treat crossdressers as I treat Democrats: friends and good neighbors don’t demand each other pretend to think alike. Open disapproval doesn’t make people hateful enemies. It makes them honest neighbors. 

    The Left is training people to equate significant disagreement on morality and politics with hatred and aggression. They are the ones breaking relationships.

    • #27
    • April 15, 2019, at 10:49 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  28. Aaron Miller Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

     

    I’m 62, and I don’t remember ever running into a transexual, so I would have the opportunity to get into pronoun trouble. Maybe I just don’t get around much.

    [….]

    [….]

    The combination of silliness and fascistic insistence on compliance that characterizes the trans movement makes it, I think, worth opposing.

    Many people are susceptible to peer pressure. These fads encourage more people to embrace odd habits because those oddities attract attention and popularity. The fads also train people to interpret impulses and proclivities in ways that would have been regularly dismissed as foolish decades ago. 

    Celebration of freaks multiplies the frequency of freakish behavior.

    • #28
    • April 15, 2019, at 11:01 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  29. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    I’ll go a little farther, and say that I also reserve the right to use someone’s “dead” name. Yeah, sure, people can change their names, but if it’s part of an attempt to claim you’re Jack when you’re actually Jill, I’m not going along with it. You’re still Jill to me, honey.

    I can go either way with that, though I understand your reasoning. Unlike sex, names really are arbitrary: I’m happy to call Jenner whatever his new name is (though I forget it).

    In such cases, the names are certainly not arbitrary. If a man decided he was a woman, but then changed his name from Eddie to Butch, that would be an arbitrary name-change. But when he says he’s a woman, and changes from Bradley to Chelsea, or even if he changed his name to Pat, then the new name is part of the lie. When you use the new name, it has exactly the same implications as using the wrong pronoun.

    • #29
    • April 15, 2019, at 11:15 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. The Reticulator Member

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    I’ll go a little farther, and say that I also reserve the right to use someone’s “dead” name. Yeah, sure, people can change their names, but if it’s part of an attempt to claim you’re Jack when you’re actually Jill, I’m not going along with it. You’re still Jill to me, honey.

    I can go either way with that, though I understand your reasoning. Unlike sex, names really are arbitrary: I’m happy to call Jenner whatever his new name is (though I forget it).

    In such cases, the names are certainly not arbitrary. If a man decided he was a woman, but then changed his name from Eddie to Butch, that would be an arbitrary name-change. But when he says he’s a man, and changes from Bradley to Chelsea, or even if he changed his name to Pat, then the new name is part of the lie. When you use that name, you participate in the lie.

    People reinvent themselves in many ways. It’s pretty hard to go through life without participating. I’d rather keep my eye on the bottom line. 

    • #30
    • April 15, 2019, at 11:22 AM PST
    • Like