I’ve been thinking a lot about identity lately, and how identity relates to language, specifically to pronouns.
I think I might have a different perspective on identity than some others. It is fascinating to me that so many people naturally think of themselves as a “he”, or as a “she”, or as something between or outside the culturally-defined gender gamut.
This excessive focus on gender seems to me to be distracting us from a much more problematic issue.
When I reflect on my own thinking about myself, it is clear that I have never thought of myself in gendered terms — nor, for that matter, in third-person terms.
Whenever I think of myself, it is always in the first-person. This fact is consistently reflected in my speech: Whenever I refer to myself, I invariably choose the pronouns “I” or “me” or “my”.
However, people invariably ignore these obvious language cues and without asking, presume they can refer to me with second-person and third-person pronouns.
When they do this the implications are impossible to miss. 1) They are assigning me the status of an object of experience in their world, not the experiencing subject of my own world. 2) They are relegating me to the periphery of their awareness — and possibly other people’s awareness as well! — and denying my centrality within my own awareness. 3) Worst of all they render me interchangeable with any number of he-/she-/ze-/they-objects, and in doing so deny the uniqueness of my own self-same identity and perspective.
Not only are these implicit impositions entirely contrary to my self-understanding, they are profoundly disorienting, alienating and threatening.
For all these reasons I am respectfully asking everyone to honor my pronoun preferences, and in the future to address me as I/me/mine.
I am aware that this language change might feel unfamiliar at first, but I assure you that this discomfort is minor compared to the anguish of constantly being made to live among people who refuse to recognize that I am not just some thing or person, but I.
Thank you in advance for your compliance with my choice.