But you’d call me Steve: Nicknames and gender


I think that I usually introduce myself as Steve. I’m not sure, though. Maybe it’s Steven.

That’s what eight years of only being called by your last name will do to you. 
I am sure of this:  Inevitably, I’m asked “Do you prefer Steve or Steven?”
I mention this today, when the North Carolina legislature (shortly after the GOP legislative coup) goes to consider repealing the “transgender bathroom law“.
One of the most common ways that transpeople are dehumanized and discriminated against is by refusing to call them by their target gender and instead insisting on referring to them as their biological sex.  This even spawns awful memes like “identifying as an attack helicopter“.
But here’s the thing: People remember whether to call me Steve or Steven.  They’d remember if I asked them to call me by my middle name, or by a nickname. Sometimes they’d slip up or forget, and I’d remind them, but by and large, they’d get it right. All of us has a huge database in our heads of not just what first name goes with which person, but what specific variations goes with each person.
And if we deliberately, intentionally, called someone a variation they disliked?  
You’d be a total asshat.
So, here’s the simple question:
Why wouldn’t someone do the same thing for gender that we already do for first names?

Popular posts:

  • Uncomfortable Correctness
  • Where I slam it in the car door
  • Galaxies - A 100 Word Story
  • Odds and Ends: Optimizing SSHFS, moving files into subdirectories, and getting placeholder images
  • Cinncinati Archdiocese to Employees: You must all be Catholic, and We Don't Trust You.
  • New All-Backer Rewards for *Not Our Kind* and Exclusive Add-Ons!
  • Moving Beyond Toxic Empathy