Wedding Woes

How do I make being non-binary work at work?

Dear Prudence,

I’m a non-binary person who has found empowerment by embracing femininity. Or so I thought! I recently started my first office job, in which it appears that I’m the only person who has ever mentioned being trans or non-binary. Even HR is unsure of how to deal with it. My coworkers were supportive when I came out, but the they/them pronouns I’ve asked everyone to use just aren’t sticking. It’s tough correcting people because when I’m misgendered, it’s usually in the context of a compliment, and I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the praise. But every time I hold back I feel like it’s telling my team that it’s OK to keep using she/her. I don’t want to buzz my head or stop wearing makeup or spend money on masculine clothes I don’t like. And I think it’s silly to change my appearance in order to be respected. How can I push my well-meaning cis coworkers to remember to use my pronouns? Would it be passive-aggressive to wear a they/them pin? How do I gently correct people—alone or in groups—when they misgender me?

—Non-Binary at Work

Re: How do I make being non-binary work at work?

  • I think there’s really nothing wrong with saying, every time, “actually, they not she thanks.”  Since they’re supportive and praising your work, treat this like a mistake and just remind them. 
    charlotte989875MissKittyDanger
  • My guess is this is new to them so reminders are important.
    I know I would want to be reminded if I mistakenly misgender someone.

    If they aren't show LW respect of trying to fix their thoughts, that's another issue.
  • I think gently correcting people alone or in small groups is the best way to go.  Maybe not even every time but, often enough that it will then start to become their coworkers' habit.  Because using they/them when talking about a single person isn't the norm, so it is something their coworkers will need to be mindful of until it becomes second nature for them.

    Especially since they said their coworkers are supportive, so there probably isn't anyone purposefully being rude.  I would bet most/all of them would want to be reminded to use the proper pronouns, so they aren't offending the LW.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • kerbohlkerbohl member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    Question related to this regarding pronouns.  Hubby has resolved to use gender neutral pronouns in his report cards.  Administration keeps changing the pronouns back.  He's at a bit of a loss.  He asks students what their preferred prounouns are.  But he also is aware that some students want to use particular pronouns but don't want those pronouns used around their parents, and parents read the report  cards.  So the gender neutral helps navigate that minefield for the students.

  • @kerbohl I dislike gender neutral pronouns for people who prefer a specific gender pronoun, and wonder if he can write around it? “Katie is excellent at reading but needs to work on comprehension of complex topics. Katie is a delight to have in class. Your child’s understanding of math is improving. Your student’s long division is a work in progress.”  No gender neutral pronouns needed. 
    CharmedPamCasadenaMissKittyDanger
  • kerbohlkerbohl member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    @STARMOON44 Hmmm, so mostly replace with the student's name?  I can't see using "your student" or "your child", but maybe "this student"?  That's a thought.  

    charlotte989875MNNEBrideVarunaTT
  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    kerbohl said:
    Question related to this regarding pronouns.  Hubby has resolved to use gender neutral pronouns in his report cards.  Administration keeps changing the pronouns back.  He's at a bit of a loss.  He asks students what their preferred prounouns are.  But he also is aware that some students want to use particular pronouns but don't want those pronouns used around their parents, and parents read the report  cards.  So the gender neutral helps navigate that minefield for the students.
    I started doing this a few years ago too.  I use they/them, the class, we (this term, we have studied...), or their name just for simplicity.  Though I do have some students who I don't use their name either on report cards as they are going by one preferred name at school, but it's not being accepted at home, and I'm not willing to get in-between  the students preference and their parents preference, so gender neutral and no names has been the easiest.  I do check with any students who have let me know their preferred name or pronouns to see if parents are ok with it, and I won't put something on their report card that they aren't comfortable with, or that will get them in trouble with parents.  

    @STARMOON44 Is this a just preference of yours, or am I messing this up with keeping comments gender neutral?

    VarunaTT
  • STARMOON44STARMOON44 member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    kerbohl said:
    Question related to this regarding pronouns.  Hubby has resolved to use gender neutral pronouns in his report cards.  Administration keeps changing the pronouns back.  He's at a bit of a loss.  He asks students what their preferred prounouns are.  But he also is aware that some students want to use particular pronouns but don't want those pronouns used around their parents, and parents read the report  cards.  So the gender neutral helps navigate that minefield for the students.
    I started doing this a few years ago too.  I use they/them, the class, we (this term, we have studied...), or their name just for simplicity.  Though I do have some students who I don't use their name either on report cards as they are going by one preferred name at school, but it's not being accepted at home, and I'm not willing to get in-between  the students preference and their parents preference, so gender neutral and no names has been the easiest.  I do check with any students who have let me know their preferred name or pronouns to see if parents are ok with it, and I won't put something on their report card that they aren't comfortable with, or that will get them in trouble with parents.  

    @STARMOON44 Is this a just preference of yours, or am I messing this up with keeping comments gender neutral?
    Oh just my preference! But since his “they/them” pronouns keep getting changed by admin thought writing around it might help. 
    WinstonsGirlcharlotte989875kerbohl
  • kerbohlkerbohl member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    kerbohl said:
    Question related to this regarding pronouns.  Hubby has resolved to use gender neutral pronouns in his report cards.  Administration keeps changing the pronouns back.  He's at a bit of a loss.  He asks students what their preferred prounouns are.  But he also is aware that some students want to use particular pronouns but don't want those pronouns used around their parents, and parents read the report  cards.  So the gender neutral helps navigate that minefield for the students.
    I started doing this a few years ago too.  I use they/them, the class, we (this term, we have studied...), or their name just for simplicity.  Though I do have some students who I don't use their name either on report cards as they are going by one preferred name at school, but it's not being accepted at home, and I'm not willing to get in-between  the students preference and their parents preference, so gender neutral and no names has been the easiest.  I do check with any students who have let me know their preferred name or pronouns to see if parents are ok with it, and I won't put something on their report card that they aren't comfortable with, or that will get them in trouble with parents.  

    @STARMOON44 Is this a just preference of yours, or am I messing this up with keeping comments gender neutral?
    Ah, he has come across that as well.  It can get to be a lot of juggle, and the stress is on to not make an honest mistake.

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