On November 16th we published a piece, by Mindy Silverado, which affirmed the practice of sharing pronouns in university spaces, especially classes. It turns out this is a contentious issue. While our article responded to an opinion piece by a professor who wanted to make sharing pronouns optional, it seems that many readers were unfamiliar with the practice. We thought we’d post the following response, emailed in by Brian who preferred we only use a first name.
We’re posting Brian’s whole email with permission. We want his views represented, but they won’t go unanswered. Instead, editor Jane de Beauvoir will post their response to Brian tomorrow. Update: Jane’s response is now up.
Dear Indulgence Editors,
I checked out your article because I know one of you, and I was surprised by what I read. I thought this was a blog about books, not a place for pushing political agendas. I get that lots of people experiement with things at college, but do we need to make everything about that experimentation?
College is a place for education: classes should be about learning, not gender identity. The most polite thing to do is just use names instead of pronouns and get back to the work of studying. If some people do want to share pronouns with their names (if there’s even time for everyone to share names in a big class) they should be able to, of course. That’s why this professor’s solution makes the best of the situation: people who want to share pronouns can and other people won’t have to.
That avoids setting the PC police on anyone who doesn’t know all the gender rules (like me). Nothing is gained by punishing people like us for not knowing what gender people think they are.
I guess what I’m saying is that I want to support people who don’t like their natural gender and want a new one, but I don’t think that process needs to be a public one.
Brian’s email didn’t surprise us completely, we’re sure there are many people like this. W thought we could, then use this as an opportunity to respond to these ideas. That’s what you can expect from Jane’s post tomorrow.
Also, check out Mindy’s original post, Pronoun Cosmetics
Pic: Dead Poets’ Society. https://walkinthedust.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/o-captain.jpg