When I introduced myself I said that I’m a queer NB (or queer enby) and I use the pronouns they/them. I’m aware that for some people this is weird, or some people would even say incorrect.
There are plenty of people who identify outside of the gender binary though. (By that I mean that gender is either MALE or FEMALE and nothing else). I know people who identify as agender (without gender), genderfluid (moving between feeling male or female), and third gender (another gender entirely separate from male/female). And for those of us who do identity outside of this gender binary it is important that the way people refer to us, and talk about us, doesn’t misgender us. Because of this we have pronouns that a gender neutral, and don’t identify us as male or female. Personally, I use they/them. This is used in the english language already..take for instance “did you speak to the doctor?” “yes THEY said I need an appointment”. See? it’s already written into our language, it’s easy! I know that others use ze/zir/zirs or v/ver/vers, they beauty of living outside of the gender conformity is that we can make up our own rules!
When I came out on my facebook page asking for people to respect my pronouns a (no longer) friend began a barrage of abuse, claiming that if I was neither male nor female I was an “it” and therefore he would refer to me as “it.” IT. IT?!?! Imagine how you would feel if someone used the wrong pronoun for you (he if you’re a woman and she if you’re a man) and when you corrected them they said THAT ISN’T VALID I’LL CALL YOU IT.
When you refuse to use a person’s pronouns (I will NOT say preferred pronouns, they are not preferred, they are the only way you should refer to us), you are saying that their (see it really is easy to use singular they!) identity is invalid. You are saying that you do not respect them. You are saying that you do not value their existence unless it fits in with your version of reality. If you call yourself an ally then you had better be ready to use the right pronouns and fight for your LGBT* friends to have the right pronouns used too.
Maybe this seems dramatic…“oh the campish queer is being a drama queen again”…it’s not. I will continue to fight for my right to exist in the only way I now how. As me, a queer non binary person. And if that upsets you, well you can close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears and bury your head in the sand. You are not my ally.