Gender Attribution

Serious discussions on politics, religion, and the like.

Gender Attribution

Postby RyukaTana » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:57 pm

In multiple discussions, the concept of gender attribution has come up. To give some basic background, here's the relevant posts in this thread where it started:

crayzz wrote:...To say that Ryuka's misrepresenting hell because the hell xe described isn't part of your beliefs is nothing short of asinine.

RyukaTana wrote:Also, I'm a guy. Gender-neutral pronouns read weirdly to me, and I know you won't stop using them in all cases, but at least when referring to me you can use he, or fuck even she. If it does matter to you, I think 'ze' looks less awkward than 'xe' and I've seen it used more often.

crayzz wrote:Male it is then. I use them when the gender is unknown to me or non-existent, not in all cases. I've seen xe more often than ze; not that it matters, since you understand me in any case. And really, it doesn't matter to me per se; it matters to people who don't fit within a binary gender worldview. They often have a shitty enough life as it is, so I think I can use some words that sound strange to some if it helps them, even a little bit.

RyukaTana wrote:I get that, I didn't mean to insist or imply any kind of insistence that you stop using them. I believe pronouns belong to the speaker, you could keep calling me 'xe' and I wouldn't be offended, I just prefer a less awkward looking pronoun if possible. Personally, I go with gender-neutral 'he', and I'll call a non-gender binary person whatever I want, plenty of languages have no gender pronouns at all, if that's the 'line in the sand', I'm going to spit on it. There's bigger issues and I'm going to focus on getting better treatment and understanding of gender and sex over better pronouns.


And as far as I can tell, that's where that ended until this thread:

Alex Starkiller wrote:
RyukaTana wrote:
LoneHowler wrote:Btw sorry for the androgynous user name, I've been using since I was a little girl whose favorite animal is wolves. I'm rather stuck with it by now and too crotchety and stuck in my ways to change it.

Absolutely nothing to apologize for, no one on the internet is entitled to know your sex or gender. Whether it's reasonable to volunteer that information is a different matter, but you have, and again, no one is entitled to it.

As long as you don't get upset if someone assumed you were a guy, that's not a problem.


That was an aside which lead to my reply of:

RyukaTana wrote:Eh, gender attribution by strangers is one of those things that I see a lot of people get their panties in a twist over that really bugs me. I mentioned before, I don't care if someone refers to me by the 'wrong' gender pronoun (and more and more, I'm starting to think that a lot of languages have it right by not having the words 'he' or 'she'), and I don't think being transgender gives you any more of a reason to bitch about it. As long as people respect me (or don't) for who I am, call me whatever feels right for you (general 'you'). If it's legitimately insulting (rather than just a perceived misuse or an accident), I can always just stop talking to you.


crayzz responded to me at the bottom of this post, if anyone wants to follow that conversation. I'm not posting the whole back and forth.

It came up again in this thread.

crayzz wrote:I also note that you have no problem proclaiming the wish for ones identity to be recognized to be stupid.


And I replied here. Then the discussion continued and it was suggested we return to a previous thread to discuss the topic instead of derailing that thread. I stated I disagreed since the discussion was spread over multiple threads already, and here we are.. I'm going to go ahead and let this first post be a document generally guiding people to where to find the relevant posts if they want to see them.


(Note: I linked a bunch of stuff, if I messed up any of the links, let me know, I'll fix them.)
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Re: Gender Attribution

Postby RyukaTana » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:20 pm

crayzz wrote:I would say not to argue this here. I brought it up because there seems to be some disconnect between Ryuka's statements now and his statements before.


This is one of the most recent notes on this discussion, and it's pretty asinine.

From the thread on 437...

Ryuka Tana wrote:Eh, gender attribution by strangers is one of those things that I see a lot of people get their panties in a twist over that really bugs me. I mentioned before, I don't care if someone refers to me by the 'wrong' gender pronoun (and more and more, I'm starting to think that a lot of languages have it right by not having the words 'he' or 'she'), and I don't think being transgender gives you any more of a reason to bitch about it. As long as people respect me (or don't) for who I am, call me whatever feels right for you (general 'you'). If it's legitimately insulting (rather than just a perceived misuse or an accident), I can always just stop talking to you.


From the recent 440 thread...

RyukaTana wrote:What I said about trans people is that I will use whatever fucking pronouns I please, because I accept them for the identity they wish, but my speech is my own and I can say what I feel comfortable saying, just as I would any other time. I also said, if you need me to use a specific pronoun to describe you, despite my acceptance of what you are, to prove my acceptance or soothe your gender issues, that's stupid. Pronouns are just words, a lot of languages don't even have gender pronouns and they do just fine. ALSO, I've made it pretty damn clear anyone who doesn't like it is free, and completely in the right, to not fucking talk to me.


Let's see, I touch on my choice of pronouns and how they belong to the speaker. How pronouns in many other languages are gender-neutral. Also, how people are completely free to stop talking to me if I offend them. Damn, I'm so horribly inconsistent. I flip-flopped all over, didn't I?

Wait... maybe it was further back in 426...

RyukaTana wrote:I get that, I didn't mean to insist or imply any kind of insistence that you stop using them. I believe pronouns belong to the speaker, you could keep calling me 'xe' and I wouldn't be offended, I just prefer a less awkward looking pronoun if possible. Personally, I go with gender-neutral 'he', and I'll call a non-gender binary person whatever I want, plenty of languages have no gender pronouns at all, if that's the 'line in the sand', I'm going to spit on it. There's bigger issues and I'm going to focus on getting better treatment and understanding of gender and sex over better pronouns.


WHOA! Look how differently I felt about it then, and how vast the difference in the way I described my feelings then. Shit, I am so hugely inconsistent...

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Packbat wrote:Preview edit: I agree with crayzz at least as far as it being rude and wrong to refer to someone with a female gender identity as male or vice-versa without their permission. I would and probably will go further, but this post is already long enough and I sorta need to go to the bathroom, so elaboration will have to wait.


Anyway, so Packbat posted this, and never got back to it as it was then suggested we move back to the previous thread and then I said we should move this to a new thread and did that. Here we are...

My response here is that I have stated I don't really care about 'rude'. However, as I mentioned previously in the cross-thread discussion, pronouns and attributions are my words from my mouth and they belong to me. I don't think it's wrong to refer to a cisgendered male as 'she', while it may be rude. However, there's clearly a disparity when dealing with trans individuals (I won't say transgendered or transsexual, because they are different and neither is inclusive of the other, and likely 'trans' in general isn't inclusive of everyone with gender identity issues).

I think I made pretty clear my feelings about pronouns and their relation to gender. I will use whichever pronoun feels natural at the time, which means with a trans individual, I may bounce back and forth until I settle into the one that works for me. My concepts of gender and sexuality are my own, and thus the words I use to describe them are also my own. They don't have any inherent power over someone, and if someone takes offense to them, that's their problem, not mine.

In the end, it's no more right for a trans individual to tell me how to view and interact with their sex and gender then it is for me to tell them the same. They do not get special treatment or rights because they have a different approach, and I happily accept their views, but I don't necessarily agree with them. This doesn't mean I think they're invalid, and no one, cisgendered or otherwise, speaks for 'the community' on this issue. Every trans person has their own views of what's okay and what isn't, and their views are the only ones that matter to them. They aren't some alien, hive-mind collective, and they are free to agree with me or not. I said multiple times that those people can always just stop talking to me if they feel I am being offensive.
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Re: Gender Attribution

Postby Packbat » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:45 pm

I believe you are extrapolating badly from your own experience.

Look, you're one of those people who is not particularly bothered by being misgendered, and as an inveterate cross-player, that seems like a perfectly normal thing to me. That said: for a lot of people, that's a not-normal thing. For a lot of people, their gender - their interaction with the social constructs that constitute gender - is important to them in a way which makes people referring to them as not being that gender seriously irritating.

(...possibly in the same way that I would be irritated by someone referring to me as a Christian online.)

Wanting to be called by the pronouns that match your self is not a trans thing, it's a gender thing. And not being willing to refer to people by their gender would be like telling an atheist, "Oh, but you're such a good person that you really are Christian, even if you say you're not!"
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Re: Gender Attribution

Postby RyukaTana » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:58 pm

Circumstance. I don't have to refer to people's religion at all, or commonly, or in passing. Pronouns are a common, constant part of speech. Different issues. Plenty of people use 'he' as a gender-neutral term.

In the end, I don't care to be normal, and it doesn't change the most important fact that no one has to interact with me that does not wish to do so. I am not 'wrong' for attributing gender incorrectly, as it does not harm anyone any more than it does for me to call them Christian when they aren't. They might have such a personality as to take offense and thus deem it harmful, but that is not my problem.

Also, this is dramatically different because I would interact with said person as their identified gender, whether I use the desired pronoun or not, so it's not at all like calling someone Christian when they're not. It's like calling a woman 'Sir', or in turn, a man 'Ma'am'. In some formats the former is both common, and sometimes preferred. The latter is socially unacceptable in pretty much all circumstances, but that's just stupid human gender bias.
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Re: Gender Attribution

Postby Alex Starkiller » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:02 pm

If someone asks you to refer to them a certain way, do it. Don't be a dick.
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Re: Gender Attribution

Postby RyukaTana » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:16 pm

If someone asks me to refer to them as 'Master', unless I agreed to it ahead of time, I'll tell them to fuck off... So no, that mentality doesn't work.
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Re: Gender Attribution

Postby Packbat » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:18 pm

RyukaTana wrote:Circumstance. I don't have to refer to people's religion at all, or commonly, or in passing. Pronouns are a common, constant part of speech. Different issues. Plenty of people use 'he' as a gender-neutral term.

I recommend reading "A Person Paper on Purity in Language", then - at least the first two paragraphs and the Post Scriptum thereof. Plenty of people use "he" as a gender-neutral term, but they're wrong to do so.

(Incidentally, while Hofstadter makes no allusion to this in the essay, there's a substantial body of research indicating that gendered language causes bias in thinking - I don't remember the exact examples, but they were along the lines of "if you ask someone to visualize a 'mailman', they almost always imagine a male, but if you ask them to visualize a 'mail carrier', they imagine both male and female instances.")

In the end, I don't care to be normal, and it doesn't change the most important fact that no one has to interact with me that does not wish to do so. I am not 'wrong' for attributing gender incorrectly, as it does not harm anyone any more than it does for me to call them Christian when they aren't. They might have such a personality as to take offense and thus deem it harmful, but that is not my problem.

Also, this is dramatically different because I would interact with said person as their identified gender, whether I use the desired pronoun or not, so it's not at all like calling someone Christian when they're not. It's like calling a woman 'Sir', or in turn, a man 'Ma'am'. In some formats the former is both common, and sometimes preferred. The latter is socially unacceptable in pretty much all circumstances, but that's just stupid human gender bias.

I believe Alex Starkiller summed up my response to this fairly well:
Alex Starkiller wrote:If someone asks you to refer to them a certain way, do it. Don't be a dick.

The fact that to your mind their offense represents some weird quirk on their part simply means that your mind is lying to you by assuming that it is typical. There was a really fantastic essay on this subject called "Generalizing From One Example" - if I had to sum it up as briefly as possible, I would say it says, "don't treat your life as a reliable guide for what happens to other people, or in other places, or at other times - study those cases as themselves and note where they differ from your own and from each other."

Going back to the subject of pronouns, let me try a different metaphor: so far as I have observed, you really dislike people making unadorned pronouncements about your beliefs being false. Well, to someone with a strong gender identity, calling them by the wrong pronoun is such a pronouncement. Does that explain to you why they might be pissed?
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Re: Gender Attribution

Postby RyukaTana » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:39 pm

Yeah, I think all that politically correct bullshit is just that. That first essay is not remotely convincing otherwise. Yeah, I probably do see a guy when you say mail man, or mail carrier. I mean, it's MAIL, we should call it 'FEMAIL' right? Or something 'ungender biased'... No... I don't care. Meaningless crap... I can disassociate my initial instincts or a pronoun from the identity of a person, because a person is fucking more than that. If someone can't, then that's they're hangup. Probably a pretty common hangup, but I do NOT think that ANYONE should be held to the lowest common denominator even if that's most people. Especially if that's most people. Particularly since it's so often most people.

In fact, as far as I'm concerned, the concession to using gender pronouns is more idiotic because there are WAY BIGGER FUCKING ISSUES. I'll be addressing those in my life, because I have perspective on what's important. The use of a two or three letter word is not one of those things. It's not even kind of one of those things. In fact, I'll probably use the pronoun that a person wants me to, I just don't feel anyone has an obligation to call anyone anything they don't fucking want to call them.

There is a disassociation between a word and a concept. When I call someone 'he', I don't assume they're just every man. All the men are 'he', and thus are exactly the same person... No... Thus my ability to treat a person with respect is not contingent on my use of a word. I am not using 'he' or 'she' to describe anything more than that person with which my pronoun was modified last.

I know why such a person 'might be pissed', and I don't care. I'd tell such a person to their face all the things I'm telling you, and tell them to grow up and deal with it. The world doesn't revolve around their gender issues, and I won't tiptoe around them. Just like I don't tiptoe around race, or class, or 'authority', or censor myself when talking about rape or hate crimes or anything else.

I also stated in the discussion of 'false beliefs' that 'I think' changes the nature of the argument entirely. So, for all intents and purposes the same holds true here. 'I think you're a he' is my fucking decision. You can disagree, you can hate it, but it's my choice. In the end, though, 'I think you're a he' wouldn't even be me stating that 'I think you're not what gender you think you are', it would just be me saying, 'This pronoun suits you in my view'. So using my argument, no, I still don't think I'm wrong.
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Re: Gender Attribution

Postby Alex Starkiller » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:44 pm

RyukaTana wrote:If someone asks me to refer to them as 'Master', unless I agreed to it ahead of time, I'll tell them to fuck off... So no, that mentality doesn't work.

Until "Master" becomes a gender pronoun, you can fuck right off with that mentality.

RyukaTana wrote:I also stated in the discussion of 'false beliefs' that 'I think' changes the nature of the argument entirely. So, for all intents and purposes the same holds true here. 'I think you're a he' is my fucking decision. You can disagree, you can hate it, but it's my choice. In the end, though, 'I think you're a he' wouldn't even be me stating that 'I think you're not what gender you think you are', it would just be me saying, 'This pronoun suits you in my view'. So using my argument, no, I still don't think I'm wrong.

Jesus, that's bullshit. You don't actually believe they aren't what they say they are. Not within this context. You're just being a childish asshole. "Would it be all that hard to call you "her"? No. I just don't want to call you by what you ask because I don't feel like it."
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Re: Gender Attribution

Postby Packbat » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:48 pm

RyukaTana wrote:Yeah, I think all that politically correct bullshit is just that. That first essay is not remotely convincing otherwise. Yeah, I probably do see a guy when you say mail man, or mail carrier. I mean, it's MAIL, we should call it 'FEMAIL' right? Or something 'ungender biased'... No... I don't care. Meaningless crap... I can disassociate my initial instincts or a pronoun from the identity of a person, because a person is fucking more than that. If someone can't, then that's they're hangup. Probably a pretty common hangup, but I do NOT think that ANYONE should be held to the lowest common denominator even if that's most people. Especially if that's most people. Particularly since it's so often most people.

In fact, as far as I'm concerned, the concession to using gender pronouns is more idiotic because there are WAY BIGGER FUCKING ISSUES. I'll be addressing those in my life, because I have perspective on what's important. The use of a two or three letter word is not one of those things. It's not even kind of one of those things. In fact, I'll probably use the pronoun that a person wants me to, I just don't feel anyone has an obligation to call anyone anything they don't fucking want to call them.

There is a disassociation between a word and a concept. When I call someone 'he', I don't assume they're just every man. All the men are 'he', and thus are exactly the same person... No... Thus my ability to treat a person with respect is not contingent on my use of a word. I am not using 'he' or 'she' to describe anything more than that person with which my pronoun was modified last.

I know why such a person 'might be pissed', and I don't care. I'd tell such a person to their face all the things I'm telling you, and tell them to grow up and deal with it. The world doesn't revolve around their gender issues, and I won't tiptoe around them. Just like I don't tiptoe around race, or class, or 'authority', or censor myself when talking about rape or hate crimes or anything else.

I also stated in the discussion of 'false beliefs' that 'I think' changes the nature of the argument entirely. So, for all intents and purposes the same holds true here. 'I think you're a he' is my fucking decision. You can disagree, you can hate it, but it's my choice. In the end, though, 'I think you're a he' wouldn't even be me stating that 'I think you're not what gender you think you are', it would just be me saying, 'This pronoun suits you in my view'. So using my argument, no, I still don't think I'm wrong.

...I'm sorry, I was raised to believe that if the only reasonable response you can formulate to someone is "fuck you and the horse you rode in on", you shouldn't say anything at all. As it stands, I'm going to need a little more time to compose an actual reply.

Also, fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

I'll be back in a few minutes.
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