Pronouns – Are you confident?

The world is changing as it always does over time. It revolves and whilst it does, we transform as beings and create a world we are happier to inhabit. It’s life and it’s something that has always happened. I remember when I was growing up, I knew I was gay but the thought of actually admitting it not only to myself but also speaking it out loud was something that felt not only dangerous but also not completely accepted. The world turned and people changed and now, thankfully, it’s much more accepted across the majority of the civilised world. It’s certainly not a choice that I made. It is absolutely who I was born as genetically. 

It was a hard period of time when I ‘came out’. We were in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and being gay had huge stigmas. Homophobia was rife and people like me had to be careful. Gay bashing was on the up, all spurred on by a terrible media campaign which basically gave false information about the spread of the disease. At the worst point of it, I remember one of my best friends coming out to his family and their reaction was ‘well if you want to get AIDS, its up to you’. 

All of this was because of a lack of education. People were frightened and needed somebody or in this case, a group of people to blame. Education is really the answer to everything. Once we know about something and understand it, we can then form our opinion and speak about it with absolute certainty. It protects us and makes us richer, not only financially but personally and emotionally too. 

The world has turned once again and with it, changes are happening within our society that challenge us. People that are born as male are identifying as female and vice versa, there is a trans community and people are starting to realise that, although we are the same species, we are all individuals and different. Some are not confident enough to identify themselves sexually and prefer not to be seen within any specific gender group. 

I recently found myself in the company of someone that doesn’t specify a gender and prefers to use the pronouns They/Them. I completely understand why and absolutely respect their wishes. We had a lovely chat and we went about our day. After I spoke to them, someone else in the room congratulated me on not misgendering them. A chill ran through me and I played back the whole entire conversation in my head to make sure that I hadn’t upset or insulted them inadvertently. Maybe it was in my subconscious somewhere? Maybe my own history came in to play and my instincts protected me from making an error. They made me really have a think about how I conduct myself and how I project myself to the outside world. What if I had made a mistake? Should I be punished and hauled in front of the politically correct panel of the world, or should I simply be educated and reminded to perhaps try and do better next time. 

This is how I looked at it. I 100% identify as a man. Exactly the same way as I 100% identify sexually as Gay or Homosexual. I am so confident in myself as a person that if someone was to call me straight or even (if I was effeminate) a woman, I wouldn’t be offended. I would simply shrug it off, correct them and carry on with being my unapologetic self. 

Being offended is a choice. I really don’t know anyone that would offend someone they don’t know on purpose. I understand that mistakes can happen and they might make your foot itch or cause a bit of emotional discomfort but I really believe, for the most part, that people mean well and try their very best to get it right. 

If they don’t get it right the first time, then perhaps they will the next time. 

We all need to be patient as the world turns. It can be a lot to get a head around but I am an optimist and truly believe that we, as humans, will get there and all be able to live in harmony with each other no matter how we identify. And if someone you know makes a mistake, forgiveness and understanding are easier emotions to deal with than being offended.