Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

Although I certainly agree that everyone has a right to be called what they’d prefer — that’s just common human decency — I don’t agree that the question you suggest would offer an improvement on the situation I describe in the intro to my piece. In a context of social situations marked by an imbalance of power, a request that others give an account of themselves in terms of gender (provide “their gender pronouns”) is always going to be coercive. And the options to accede, lie, or refuse and suffer unknown consequences don’t change. Such questions aren’t optional even if they’re presented that way.

What would be an improvement is for everyone to work towards a society in which gender is a much less salient aspect of our social identity; where we stop making assumptions about people’s gender based on appearance; and, we regularly employ gender-neutral language including pronouns (such as “they/them”).

Professional homosexual. Professor. Writer. Scholar. Activist. Husband.

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