Growing up there were things on Facebook and Myspace where you posted selfies or pictures of yourself for a certain amount of time to seem more “real” to yourself, others, or just show off. I never participated in those because I was always anxious on how to take a good picture, figured no one wanted to see me so I took pictures of others… things like that. Well, I have made a decision. I’m gunna do the 30 days of Selfies in June. They can be done with Snapchat, my phone, my camera, my computer, etc.
My reason behind waiting 26 years to do this is because of a thought I mentioned in my previous post. If my definition of non-conforming is always shifting. Why not embrace it visually along with mentally? Show off my quirky smile, mohawk hair, or if I feel crappy, make the photo the crappiest, or try to make myself feel better. Depends on the day and or mood. So, we will see how well I do that. I’ve been horrible at goals, new years resolutions, etc. After I’m done with the month of June, I’m going to talk about how I feel about myself afterwards. Make a post about the shot at the beginning and a shot at the end. People always talk about crazy transformations or shifts. Lets see if I get one. No sugar coating.
I also want to talk about a hot button topic, probably in 2 parts (mainly because it’s a big topic and I don’t have much time to write about it right now). Pronouns. The dreaded words that put you in boxes. Or, can liberate you from yourself.
At the beginning, I didn’t think that pronouns were important. But, the first time I went to the Pride meeting on campus and was like “Hi. I prefer gender neutral pronouns I also respond to fe-“. Commence interruption of people waving hands and saying things like “No, we will use your prefered pronouns. It shows respect to you.” and “Even though you are different, we want to support you.” It was nice, and a little unexpected. At the time, I hadn’t even asked my girlfriend to use gender neutral pronouns with me yet. Pride meetings ended up becoming a safe haven for me. Every other week I could pick out the candy from between the condoms and laugh and tear up and shake out of nerves as we talked about a variety of topics.
I eventually got up the nerves to talk to my girlfriend about my pronouns. And she told her family. It just spiraled from there, to my work at the time. It stopped at my family though. They don’t even fully understand what it means to be gender non conforming and with my family also speaking a second language, I’m unsure on how to approach gender neutral pronouns in a second language. That’s gonna require some research.
When people forget about my pronouns, they either backpedal and wait for me to tell them “It’s ok, I’m not offended” (even though my heart cracks a tiny bit), or they back track and replace my name. I’m not sure which I prefer, if I were to even choose one.
The first makes it seem like the burden to correct and coddle others rely on me. It’s tiring and exhausting, and hurts too much. If I have to remind you continuously, does my mental well being even matter to you? The second one, just seems to circumvent my request all together. While yes, you are acknowledging me directly, the fact you have to back track and don’t even try to correct yourself hurts. I cringe every time. But, overall, pronoun usage is a personal choice. It can shift, especially if you’re gender non-conforming, and brings up additional challenges that others who are trans, might not have to experience. Because we step completely out of the binary.
What I will talk more about gender neutral pronoun types, it’s use in my art, how it’s affected my art, and my work life.
Oh and in case anyone was wondering, I prefer gender neutral pronouns (They/Their/Them) or male pronouns (He/Him/His).