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Wedding Woes

Just use the name?

Dear Prudence,

When is it appropriate to ask someone what their preferred pronouns are? I live in a relatively small town. It’s not so small that everyone knows one another, but small enough that you tend to see the same people often. The last two times that I’ve shopped at our local big-box store, the person who checked me out was not immediately readable as their gender. Their name tag displays a gender-neutral name. I often have my 3-year-old daughter with me, and the cashier is friendly and interacts with her often. I have found myself trying to avoid using pronouns so that I don’t misgender this person, but it seems awkward and impersonal. I am also worried that my 3-year-old will unintentionally misgender this person or ask a question about their gender. I want to set a good example for her and make the cashier feel comfortable interacting with us, especially since there are a fair amount of conservatives in our area who may not be very supportive of someone who is gender nonconforming. But I also don’t want to make this person feel awkward or offended. So is it ever appropriate to ask about preferred pronouns? Is it better to continue avoiding pronouns or just use they/them?

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Re: Just use the name?

  • I have several friends that are transgender themselves or raising transgender kids, they all appreciate it when people ask what pronouns they prefer and are not offended.  It's not uncommon for people to introduce themselves with their name and preferred pronouns so that no one feels singled out stating their pronouns.

    On the other hand, I live in a very liberal urban city so I can understand if that might not be the case in conservative areas.  

    OurWildKingdom
  • CasadenaCasadena member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    I think in this particular situation, just using the person's first name is more than sufficient.  If you're uncomfortable with your child doing that, then I think an approach like Banana suggested is perfectly fine.  
    OurWildKingdomMesmrEwe
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Just use the person's first name or use and explain gender neutral pronouns (b/c we all use singular they all the time w/out realizing it).

    I get so twisted about this, b/c on the one hand I'm really glad people who are parents like this exist.  On the other hand, sweet jesus, be aware of the danger transpeople deal with day in and day out.  You don't have to know someone's gender to address them properly.

    Really, it's never appropriate to ask someone.  They'll tell you when they want.  Introduce yourself with your pronouns all the time, especially if you're cisgender.  Then, if you're around a transgender person, they know you're safe.  That still doesn't mean anything to them depending on the situation.  I've had friends I had to switch for b/c they were out to me and not everyone else in the group.  
    charlotte989875OurWildKingdomCasadenaOliveOilsMom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    banana468 said:
    "I'm teaching my daughter that we don't call grown ups by their first name unless they tell us that is OK.   What would you like Petunia to call you?" 
    This.
  • I am trying to envision a situation in which you'd need to refer to a person to whom you are speaking in the third person, which is what we use gendered pronouns for. "Oh hi, Addison, nice to see you. Could, um, they give me an extra box for my giant bottles of olive oil?" 
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    maine7mob said:
    I am trying to envision a situation in which you'd need to refer to a person to whom you are speaking in the third person, which is what we use gendered pronouns for. "Oh hi, Addison, nice to see you. Could, um, they give me an extra box for my giant bottles of olive oil?" 
    Singular they has been in use for hundreds of years. 
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    maine7mob said:
    I am trying to envision a situation in which you'd need to refer to a person to whom you are speaking in the third person, which is what we use gendered pronouns for. "Oh hi, Addison, nice to see you. Could, um, they give me an extra box for my giant bottles of olive oil?" 
    You find a cell phone on the ground and have the following mental converstaion.

    "Oh no, someone has lost their phone!  I hope they know it.  What do you think I can do to help them find it?"

    There is only one owner of the cell phone and you will use singular "they" the entire time b/c you don't know the gender of the person who owns the cell phone.

    Shakespeare's poetry:

    Now leaden slumber with life's strength doth fight;
    And every one to rest themselves betake,
    Save thieves, and cares, and troubled minds, that wake.


    It is all over the English language.  Your elementary school teacher was wrong.
    CasadenaOurWildKingdomOliveOilsMom
  • maine7mob said:
    I am trying to envision a situation in which you'd need to refer to a person to whom you are speaking in the third person, which is what we use gendered pronouns for. "Oh hi, Addison, nice to see you. Could, um, they give me an extra box for my giant bottles of olive oil?" 
    If it's a small-ish town or somewhere local, often you know the cashiers
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited June 28
    maine7mob said:
    I am trying to envision a situation in which you'd need to refer to a person to whom you are speaking in the third person, which is what we use gendered pronouns for. "Oh hi, Addison, nice to see you. Could, um, they give me an extra box for my giant bottles of olive oil?" 
    The other situation I think you might mean, happens when I'm with a group of people, K is with me, and I might refer to them w/in a story I'm telling.  Usually, I just say Kelsey (b/c as I started becoming more aware of pronouns to use, I started becoming more aware of how often I would use pronouns instead of names and how confusing it could make a story if I just kept using her and her, over and over), but I will just say, "This one time, when K and I were out {pointing at K], they said..."  So, K will hear if they are misgendered w/in my story.
    charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • maine7mob said:
    I am trying to envision a situation in which you'd need to refer to a person to whom you are speaking in the third person, which is what we use gendered pronouns for. "Oh hi, Addison, nice to see you. Could, um, they give me an extra box for my giant bottles of olive oil?" 
    “Oh hi Addison nice to see you. Could you give me an extra box for my giant bottles of olive oil?” 

    A pronoun wouldn't be appropriate in that situation regardless of the specific pronoun. 
    VarunaTTOurWildKingdomOliveOilsMom
  • VarunaTT said:
    Just use the person's first name or use and explain gender neutral pronouns (b/c we all use singular they all the time w/out realizing it).

    I get so twisted about this, b/c on the one hand I'm really glad people who are parents like this exist.  On the other hand, sweet jesus, be aware of the danger transpeople deal with day in and day out.  You don't have to know someone's gender to address them properly.

    Really, it's never appropriate to ask someone.  They'll tell you when they want.  Introduce yourself with your pronouns all the time, especially if you're cisgender.  Then, if you're around a transgender person, they know you're safe.  That still doesn't mean anything to them depending on the situation.  I've had friends I had to switch for b/c they were out to me and not everyone else in the group.  
    OK so Varuna I am asking this in a completely honest way as someone really trying to teach my kids to not be jerks (especially when they can lack a filter) would you just suggest that my kids refer to the person by the name on the nametag and leave it alone?   The older they get the less they're with me and the more I want to make sure that they treat everyone with kindness and respect.  
    VarunaTT
  • We choose to use gendered pronouns but we can just as easily choose not to; why not use people’s names more frequently? 

    I think the less we use gendered language to refer to people the less we'll use gendered language to refer to other things as well (and the better off we’ll all be!)
    OurWildKingdom
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    banana468 said:
    VarunaTT said:
    Just use the person's first name or use and explain gender neutral pronouns (b/c we all use singular they all the time w/out realizing it).

    I get so twisted about this, b/c on the one hand I'm really glad people who are parents like this exist.  On the other hand, sweet jesus, be aware of the danger transpeople deal with day in and day out.  You don't have to know someone's gender to address them properly.

    Really, it's never appropriate to ask someone.  They'll tell you when they want.  Introduce yourself with your pronouns all the time, especially if you're cisgender.  Then, if you're around a transgender person, they know you're safe.  That still doesn't mean anything to them depending on the situation.  I've had friends I had to switch for b/c they were out to me and not everyone else in the group.  
    OK so Varuna I am asking this in a completely honest way as someone really trying to teach my kids to not be jerks (especially when they can lack a filter) would you just suggest that my kids refer to the person by the name on the nametag and leave it alone?   The older they get the less they're with me and the more I want to make sure that they treat everyone with kindness and respect.  
    Firstly, always ask me.  I specifically consider it my job as an ally to help out with things like this.  I don't mind. :)  And i'll also tell you when I don't know, but let me pull on some resources.  Seriously, I can tell when someone is honestly asking and just doesn't have the language vs. an asshole.  Twitter has trained me well.  :D

    And yes, to answer to your question.  I've really come to prefer using people's names over pronouns anyway.  It's such a more specific and direct way of speaking, that I think it's helped improve my communication skills.  There are times you'll feel like you're saying the name too much, but really if it's that much, you were probably saying the pronoun too much too and the name is much clearer for communication than the pronoun. 

    Trying to pull gender out of my language (as well as ableist and racist terms), I think, has actually improved my communication skills because I'm not relying upon an assumed shorthand that I have, but the person listening to me might not have.
    charlotte989875banana468OurWildKingdomOliveOilsMom
  • VarunaTT said:
    banana468 said:
    VarunaTT said:
    Just use the person's first name or use and explain gender neutral pronouns (b/c we all use singular they all the time w/out realizing it).

    I get so twisted about this, b/c on the one hand I'm really glad people who are parents like this exist.  On the other hand, sweet jesus, be aware of the danger transpeople deal with day in and day out.  You don't have to know someone's gender to address them properly.

    Really, it's never appropriate to ask someone.  They'll tell you when they want.  Introduce yourself with your pronouns all the time, especially if you're cisgender.  Then, if you're around a transgender person, they know you're safe.  That still doesn't mean anything to them depending on the situation.  I've had friends I had to switch for b/c they were out to me and not everyone else in the group.  
    OK so Varuna I am asking this in a completely honest way as someone really trying to teach my kids to not be jerks (especially when they can lack a filter) would you just suggest that my kids refer to the person by the name on the nametag and leave it alone?   The older they get the less they're with me and the more I want to make sure that they treat everyone with kindness and respect.  
    Firstly, always ask me.  I specifically consider it my job as an ally to help out with things like this.  I don't mind. :)  And i'll also tell you when I don't know, but let me pull on some resources.  Seriously, I can tell when someone is honestly asking and just doesn't have the language vs. an asshole.  Twitter has trained me well.  :D

    And yes, to answer to your question.  I've really come to prefer using people's names over pronouns anyway.  It's such a more specific and direct way of speaking, that I think it's helped improve my communication skills.  There are times you'll feel like you're saying the name too much, but really if it's that much, you were probably saying the pronoun too much too and the name is much clearer for communication than the pronoun. 

    Trying to pull gender out of my language (as well as ableist and racist terms), I think, has actually improved my communication skills because I'm not relying upon an assumed shorthand that I have, but the person listening to me might not have.
    Yes, me too! This is something I’ve been working on and trying to be more aware of and it's changed so much of how I communicate.  
    VarunaTTOurWildKingdom
  • banana468 said:
    We choose to use gendered pronouns but we can just as easily choose not to; why not use people’s names more frequently? 

    I think the less we use gendered language to refer to people the less we'll use gendered language to refer to other things as well (and the better off we’ll all be!)
    Again as a parent the only tricky part is that it runs an awkward line with kids when we teach the younger generation to treat grown ups with respect and often that a title is added.   And perhaps you're right - if we don't get so bent out of shape and a kid says, "Hi Casey!" which is met with, "Please call me Mr. Casey," hopefully no one has any grumps associated. 
    I think if someone has a name tag, with just their first name, it's okay for people to address them by that name.  Including children.  Because even if it is the company forcing them to do that, the implication is it's okay to address them by their first name.

    I have to admit that I'm a bit curmudgeony about first name vs. last name and possibly my own "rules" about it, lol.  For example, if I use a credit card when I'm checking out at a store and the cashier is a good bit older than myself, I don't mind if they address me by my first name.

    But if they are around my age or younger, that's a side-eye.  Not something I care enough about to say something but, the way I was raised, that is not proper etiquette.  Whether the person is a child or not.  Strangers (or anyone), especially elders, are addressed as Ms./Mr. (Last name), until you are told otherwise.

    Oh!  Here's a good example.  Our next door neighbor and two neighbors across the street are senior citizens.  We're friendly with all of them, though good friends with the neighbors across the street.  The friends we address by their first names.  But the next door neighbor we address as Mrs. (Last Name).  We have been living there 8 years, but she has never invited us to use her first name.  I don't even know what it is.  So Mrs. (Last Name) it still is, lol!

    However, here in the South, there is also a custom of addressing people with Miss/Mr. (First name) for usually strangers/acquaintances.  Where using a last name seems a little too formal, but using a first name isn't formal enough.  And it is a little interesting that, whether a woman is married or not, it's almost always "Miss First Name".
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    MobKaz
  • banana468 said:
    We choose to use gendered pronouns but we can just as easily choose not to; why not use people’s names more frequently? 

    I think the less we use gendered language to refer to people the less we'll use gendered language to refer to other things as well (and the better off we’ll all be!)
    Again as a parent the only tricky part is that it runs an awkward line with kids when we teach the younger generation to treat grown ups with respect and often that a title is added.   And perhaps you're right - if we don't get so bent out of shape and a kid says, "Hi Casey!" which is met with, "Please call me Mr. Casey," hopefully no one has any grumps associated. 
    I think if someone has a name tag, with just their first name, it's okay for people to address them by that name.  Including children.  Because even if it is the company forcing them to do that, the implication is it's okay to address them by their first name.

    I have to admit that I'm a bit curmudgeony about first name vs. last name and possibly my own "rules" about it, lol.  For example, if I use a credit card when I'm checking out at a store and the cashier is a good bit older than myself, I don't mind if they address me by my first name.

    But if they are around my age or younger, that's a side-eye.  Not something I care enough about to say something but, the way I was raised, that is not proper etiquette.  Whether the person is a child or not.  Strangers (or anyone), especially elders, are addressed as Ms./Mr. (Last name), until you are told otherwise.

    Oh!  Here's a good example.  Our next door neighbor and two neighbors across the street are senior citizens.  We're friendly with all of them, though good friends with the neighbors across the street.  The friends we address by their first names.  But the next door neighbor we address as Mrs. (Last Name).  We have been living there 8 years, but she has never invited us to use her first name.  I don't even know what it is.  So Mrs. (Last Name) it still is, lol!

    However, here in the South, there is also a custom of addressing people with Miss/Mr. (First name) for usually strangers/acquaintances.  Where using a last name seems a little too formal, but using a first name isn't formal enough.  And it is a little interesting that, whether a woman is married or not, it's almost always "Miss First Name".
    I know it’s a tradition, but it’s a tradition that can be really hurtful to people for a number of reasons. I think cashiers calling you FirstName is better than misgendering people, and it’s always fine to just smile and correct someone. Which I def do. I’m FirstName or Ms. LastName and I’ll totally ignore it for one off encounters but I have a southern friend up here telling her kids to call me Miss FirstName and just nope nope nope. 
    cupcait927charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • banana468 said:
    We choose to use gendered pronouns but we can just as easily choose not to; why not use people’s names more frequently? 

    I think the less we use gendered language to refer to people the less we'll use gendered language to refer to other things as well (and the better off we’ll all be!)
    Again as a parent the only tricky part is that it runs an awkward line with kids when we teach the younger generation to treat grown ups with respect and often that a title is added.   And perhaps you're right - if we don't get so bent out of shape and a kid says, "Hi Casey!" which is met with, "Please call me Mr. Casey," hopefully no one has any grumps associated. 
    I think if someone has a name tag, with just their first name, it's okay for people to address them by that name.  Including children.  Because even if it is the company forcing them to do that, the implication is it's okay to address them by their first name.

    I have to admit that I'm a bit curmudgeony about first name vs. last name and possibly my own "rules" about it, lol.  For example, if I use a credit card when I'm checking out at a store and the cashier is a good bit older than myself, I don't mind if they address me by my first name.

    But if they are around my age or younger, that's a side-eye.  Not something I care enough about to say something but, the way I was raised, that is not proper etiquette.  Whether the person is a child or not.  Strangers (or anyone), especially elders, are addressed as Ms./Mr. (Last name), until you are told otherwise.

    Oh!  Here's a good example.  Our next door neighbor and two neighbors across the street are senior citizens.  We're friendly with all of them, though good friends with the neighbors across the street.  The friends we address by their first names.  But the next door neighbor we address as Mrs. (Last Name).  We have been living there 8 years, but she has never invited us to use her first name.  I don't even know what it is.  So Mrs. (Last Name) it still is, lol!

    However, here in the South, there is also a custom of addressing people with Miss/Mr. (First name) for usually strangers/acquaintances.  Where using a last name seems a little too formal, but using a first name isn't formal enough.  And it is a little interesting that, whether a woman is married or not, it's almost always "Miss First Name".
    I know it’s a tradition, but it’s a tradition that can be really hurtful to people for a number of reasons. I think cashiers calling you FirstName is better than misgendering people, and it’s always fine to just smile and correct someone. Which I def do. I’m FirstName or Ms. LastName and I’ll totally ignore it for one off encounters but I have a southern friend up here telling her kids to call me Miss FirstName and just nope nope nope. 
    For sure!  My Southern tangent was more meant when there isn't a likelihood of misgendering someone.  And I also realize there are some people who are offended by the concept of Miss/Mrs., however, it is used.

    Also agree that her kids, like anybody else, should address everyone by their preference.  But I know from firsthand experience the Miss/Mr. FirstName can be a hard habit for people to break down here.

    I used to manage a big gas station/convenience store and all of the employees called me Jenny...just like on my name tag, lol...but one employee always called me Miss Jenny.  I told him a few times, though didn't make a big deal about it, that we all know each other well.  Drop the Miss, just call me Jenny.  But I was a good bit older than him and I think it was just a habit he couldn't break.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I've heard some kids using a pronoun with names in kindergarden.
    "Ms. Abby" "Mr. FirstName" but it's usually with an ECE and not the "main teacher"
  • @VarunaTT and @STARMOON44 thanks for bringing those differing thoughts to mind.   I really appreciate it as I navigate through adjusting my own speech to be as respectful to everyone as possible. 
    STARMOON44VarunaTTcharlotte989875cupcait927
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    banana468 said:
    We choose to use gendered pronouns but we can just as easily choose not to; why not use people’s names more frequently? 

    I think the less we use gendered language to refer to people the less we'll use gendered language to refer to other things as well (and the better off we’ll all be!)
    Again as a parent the only tricky part is that it runs an awkward line with kids when we teach the younger generation to treat grown ups with respect and often that a title is added.   And perhaps you're right - if we don't get so bent out of shape and a kid says, "Hi Casey!" which is met with, "Please call me Mr. Casey," hopefully no one has any grumps associated. 
    I think if someone has a name tag, with just their first name, it's okay for people to address them by that name.  Including children.  Because even if it is the company forcing them to do that, the implication is it's okay to address them by their first name.

    I have to admit that I'm a bit curmudgeony about first name vs. last name and possibly my own "rules" about it, lol.  For example, if I use a credit card when I'm checking out at a store and the cashier is a good bit older than myself, I don't mind if they address me by my first name.

    But if they are around my age or younger, that's a side-eye.  Not something I care enough about to say something but, the way I was raised, that is not proper etiquette.  Whether the person is a child or not.  Strangers (or anyone), especially elders, are addressed as Ms./Mr. (Last name), until you are told otherwise.

    Oh!  Here's a good example.  Our next door neighbor and two neighbors across the street are senior citizens.  We're friendly with all of them, though good friends with the neighbors across the street.  The friends we address by their first names.  But the next door neighbor we address as Mrs. (Last Name).  We have been living there 8 years, but she has never invited us to use her first name.  I don't even know what it is.  So Mrs. (Last Name) it still is, lol!

    However, here in the South, there is also a custom of addressing people with Miss/Mr. (First name) for usually strangers/acquaintances.  Where using a last name seems a little too formal, but using a first name isn't formal enough.  And it is a little interesting that, whether a woman is married or not, it's almost always "Miss First Name".
    I know it’s a tradition, but it’s a tradition that can be really hurtful to people for a number of reasons. I think cashiers calling you FirstName is better than misgendering people, and it’s always fine to just smile and correct someone. Which I def do. I’m FirstName or Ms. LastName and I’ll totally ignore it for one off encounters but I have a southern friend up here telling her kids to call me Miss FirstName and just nope nope nope. 
    For sure!  My Southern tangent was more meant when there isn't a likelihood of misgendering someone.  And I also realize there are some people who are offended by the concept of Miss/Mrs., however, it is used.

    Also agree that her kids, like anybody else, should address everyone by their preference.  But I know from firsthand experience the Miss/Mr. FirstName can be a hard habit for people to break down here.

    I used to manage a big gas station/convenience store and all of the employees called me Jenny...just like on my name tag, lol...but one employee always called me Miss Jenny.  I told him a few times, though didn't make a big deal about it, that we all know each other well.  Drop the Miss, just call me Jenny.  But I was a good bit older than him and I think it was just a habit he couldn't break.

    One of my most difficult moves has been to stop using Ma'am and Sir, b/c raised by a Southern woman myself.  But not all of my friends identify with those terms.  I stumble, like anyone else.  And I've enjoyed starting to use Mx (it kinda sounds like Mix) for my gender fluid/queer/NB friends who use they or another gender neutral pronoun for those situations and they seem to like it (no one has told me to stop anyway). 

    I far prefer "they" over the ze/xe pronoun set.  I still have to think when using those and that one really causes me some stumbles. 
  • VarunaTT said:

    For sure!  My Southern tangent was more meant when there isn't a likelihood of misgendering someone.  And I also realize there are some people who are offended by the concept of Miss/Mrs., however, it is used.

    Also agree that her kids, like anybody else, should address everyone by their preference.  But I know from firsthand experience the Miss/Mr. FirstName can be a hard habit for people to break down here.

    I used to manage a big gas station/convenience store and all of the employees called me Jenny...just like on my name tag, lol...but one employee always called me Miss Jenny.  I told him a few times, though didn't make a big deal about it, that we all know each other well.  Drop the Miss, just call me Jenny.  But I was a good bit older than him and I think it was just a habit he couldn't break.

    One of my most difficult moves has been to stop using Ma'am and Sir, b/c raised by a Southern woman myself.  But not all of my friends identify with those terms.  I stumble, like anyone else.  And I've enjoyed starting to use Mx (it kinda sounds like Mix) for my gender fluid/queer/NB friends who use they or another gender neutral pronoun for those situations and they seem to like it (no one has told me to stop anyway). 

    I far prefer "they" over the ze/xe pronoun set.  I still have to think when using those and that one really causes me some stumbles. 
    I like Mx!  Gender-neutral and a fun sound.

    I feel like...and now I want to pay attention and test my theory, lol...that I only use potential gender pronouns when I'm talking ABOUT someone else.  If I'm talking to them directly, I'm going to use "you" and "your".

    @VarunaTT, your daily posts have been good practice for me on being more careful with pronouns and having more familiarity, since you use pronouns like "they" and "them" for K.  At first, it would throw me for a half-sec because I'd think you were talking about more than one person when I was pretty sure you were only talking about K.  And I'd read the sentence over in the same second I'd remember, lol.  But now it just reads naturally for me and I don't have the half-sec of "huh? oh yeah." 
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    charlotte989875Casadena
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    VarunaTT said:

    For sure!  My Southern tangent was more meant when there isn't a likelihood of misgendering someone.  And I also realize there are some people who are offended by the concept of Miss/Mrs., however, it is used.

    Also agree that her kids, like anybody else, should address everyone by their preference.  But I know from firsthand experience the Miss/Mr. FirstName can be a hard habit for people to break down here.

    I used to manage a big gas station/convenience store and all of the employees called me Jenny...just like on my name tag, lol...but one employee always called me Miss Jenny.  I told him a few times, though didn't make a big deal about it, that we all know each other well.  Drop the Miss, just call me Jenny.  But I was a good bit older than him and I think it was just a habit he couldn't break.

    One of my most difficult moves has been to stop using Ma'am and Sir, b/c raised by a Southern woman myself.  But not all of my friends identify with those terms.  I stumble, like anyone else.  And I've enjoyed starting to use Mx (it kinda sounds like Mix) for my gender fluid/queer/NB friends who use they or another gender neutral pronoun for those situations and they seem to like it (no one has told me to stop anyway). 

    I far prefer "they" over the ze/xe pronoun set.  I still have to think when using those and that one really causes me some stumbles. 
    I like Mx!  Gender-neutral and a fun sound.

    I feel like...and now I want to pay attention and test my theory, lol...that I only use potential gender pronouns when I'm talking ABOUT someone else.  If I'm talking to them directly, I'm going to use "you" and "your".

    @VarunaTT, your daily posts have been good practice for me on being more careful with pronouns and having more familiarity, since you use pronouns like "they" and "them" for K.  At first, it would throw me for a half-sec because I'd think you were talking about more than one person when I was pretty sure you were only talking about K.  And I'd read the sentence over in the same second I'd remember, lol.  But now it just reads naturally for me and I don't have the half-sec of "huh? oh yeah." 
    My boss knew K was NB, but didn't associate "they" with that.  One day, he admitted he saw a post and realized I had been using "they" b/c it was gender neutral.  I kind of **head tilted* and was like...What did you think I meant?  He was like, IDK, I don't care and I figured you had more than one partner or something, that I didn't know about. I had a good giggle out of that, while also feeling pretty thankful.

    It takes time to get used to.
    charlotte989875STARMOON44
  • @OurWildKingdom, right, but you don't use it when speaking directly TO the person. You use you. Or their name. That was my point.
    OurWildKingdomMyNameIsNot
  • @charlotte989875, yes, exactly. That was my point. You'd use "you" as a pronoun because you are speaking to the person. This is why the LW has no need to know which 3rd person pronoun the cashier prefers.
    OurWildKingdom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    maine7mob said:
    @OurWildKingdom, right, but you don't use it when speaking directly TO the person. You use you. Or their name. That was my point.
    My bad, I didn’t get it on first reading.
  • maine7mob said:
    @charlotte989875, yes, exactly. That was my point. You'd use "you" as a pronoun because you are speaking to the person. This is why the LW has no need to know which 3rd person pronoun the cashier prefers.
    Because she's now avoiding using the phrase, "Give that loaf of bread to him/her." or "Matilda, please stop pulling on the conveyor belt so the (lady/gentleman) does not have you tap dancing on the eggs and breaking them." 

    Instead the point is that the mom should say, "Please put the eggs on the counter and let Casey scan the groceries so we can go home and make dinner." 

    Why is that hard to understand?  She may not be speaking to the cashier if she's speaking to her 3 yo.   Have you gone shopping with a toddler in a grocery store recently?  The checkout line is perhaps the longest experience when you have a toddler in line with you who is restless and seeing tons of items to grab at eye level.   
    OurWildKingdom
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