There have been some quizzical faces around Bovine County lately. It’s well known here that the #Burgeron106 family and community are open, tolerant and inviting as a way of life. Things like gender, socio-economic status, political ideology, age, nationality, education, profession, marital status, and even species and state of aliveness (Mama & Little Boo) just aren’t issues with us. This openness to alternative ways of being in the world can cause confusion and misunderstanding for others outside the family who don’t live here, but have just dropped by for an event or an occasional visit.
Take for example last week when it was reported that SuperMoo was smitten with Anna Cow. To those of us who know that SuperMoo is a transgender bovine, there is no issue. She was seen running in the woods last summer and most recently he was head-over-hooves in love with Anna Cow. While not a big issue for us, it can still be confusing. What pronoun should be used with a transgender being? Even the human transgender community has yet to come to complete consensus on the matter.
The AP Stylebook, the most widely used by journalists and editors, encourages writers to “use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.
“If that preference is not expressed,” the Stylebook continues, “Use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.”
That’s all well and good if gender identities are clearly visible & identifiable. But in the case of our SuperMoo, whose superhero alter-ego conventions only add to the confusion, we do not see clearly definable gender characteristics. SuperMoo is on most occasions sporting an androgynous style.
We acknowledge, understand and empathize with the confusion some are experiencing. Below are a few tips and resources if you’d like to learn more, or simply become more supportive of transgender beings.
Tips & Resources for Allies of Transgender Beings
The following are tips that can be used as you move toward becoming a better ally to transgender beings.
- You can’t tell if someone is transgender just by looking.
- Don’t make assumptions about a transgender being’s sexual orientation.
- If you don’t know what pronouns to use, listen first.
- Don’t ask a transgender being what their “real name” is.
- Respect the terminology a transgender being uses to describe their identity.
Great advice, just ’cause some of #ds106 is flippant doesn’t mean that it all is. I just changed names for someone on another site I help on and thus advice cuts straight to the important stuff.