Dave Cave and I were gonna make a video post about using coffee as an antidepressant, but it turned into a conversation about gender & pronouns instead.
At first, I thought we’d just start over, but then we decided to use the video as a jumping off point for more conversations. Many others, as well as myself, have written plenty about how to tell people about how we identify, what pronouns we use, what to do when people misgender us, how not to make assumptions about anyone’s gender, etc., and I know I’ve expressed both my anger and my wonder at life as a genderqueerdo… There’s lots of advice out there, lots of inspiration, lots of righteous bitterness… But when we made this video, we almost felt like we caught some kind of rare moment in nature, in action, and we needed to share it.
It’s an example of what happens when you fuck up somebody’s pronoun and they try to talk to you about it. Most times, I just let it go, but I get angry and I dwell on it for a long time, sometimes even months. I feel awkward about bringing it up in the moment, and am usually not in the mood to talk about it, but I can’t let it go every time just because it’s uncomfortable, or because I’m sick of dealing with it, or because I think they’ll use my chosen pronoun next time (they generally don’t). So here’s a look at how that conversation goes when I do have the guts to bring it up.
Dave is one of my best friends. I made a zine with him, we exchange a lotta letters, talk on Skype, encourage each other, adventure together… You might think I’d feel more comfortable talking to him, but really, regardless of whether you’re a stranger, an acquaintance, or a friend, I still worry about hurting your feelings, I still worry about awkwardness, I still worry that correcting your use of my pronoun is not the most important use of our time. I know, I know, I’m letting you hurt my feelings when I avoid talking to you about it, and we could discuss forever why I do that… But what I really wanna do is talk about how the conversation goes when I do acknowledge your mistake in the moment.
I’m not calling you out. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. What I am trying to do is let you know you messed up, try to figure out why, try to help you mess up less, try to let you know how it makes me feel. There are a lot of variables that can affect how a conversation like this goes: your own experience with gender, your daily interactions with friends & strangers, the town/city you live, access to “radical” politics & lifestyles, dealing with other issues in your own personal life, how often you’re interacting with someone verbally as opposed to through the internet & snail mail, your willingness to have difficult conversations, and on and on and on…
There was a lot more I wanted to write about this, but after lots & lotsa talking (obviously this video doesn’t capture our entire conversation, which has been continuing over the last few days, and will never come to a solid conclusion/solution), I kinda just wanna let the video speak for itself, and I want to invite YOU to join our conversation. Think about this stuff, comment, share the video, talk to your friends… (Here’s what Dave said.)
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