Jumping into the Deep End of the Language Pool

Note From Autumn: I’ve closed down the commenting on this thread as I believe we again are seeing commenting getting out of hand.

Preveiously posted comments can be read here, in PDF format. No further comments will be allowed on this thread.


This admittedly does not have the depth of conversation that I would like to have and know the topic deserves… but wanted to express my thoughts and concerns. -Louise

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And frankly, I’m far more comfortable over there in the kiddie section, watching the rest of you swim. 😉

Lemme throw the ring right out there:

Am I cis? Am I straight?

Am I offended by either phrase? Should I be?

This past weekend has shown me exactly what my biggest privilege within our community is:

That I have never really thought about how to describe myself, because I have never really HAD to.

I’ve been a tomboy my whole life, but it has never been an issue at all. I throw on the makeup, do the hair, and dress “pretty” occasionally- but for the most part, I wear alot of men’s clothing because I find it very comfortable and did even when I had a pre-kids’ rockin’ hawt body.

The first time anyone questioned my SEXUAL IDENTITY was when I ignored a guy hitting on me in a bar and he hissed “that I must be a lesbian”. That shocked and frankly amused me- but didn’t insult me.

To me, “lesbian” is not an insult- but it’s also not my label.

So when all of this “cis” stuff came out this weekend, I’ll admit I didn’t get it and have reread the threads and links dozens of times now. My education is increasing dramatically, but at the same time, I still keep coming back to this:

There is no correct phrasing rules that are going to satisfy all people.

Not very satisfactory, but a true statement.

That’s not to say that the words are not important; of course they are. But what I keep thinking is that the INTENT of the words used in the labeling is far more important than the words themselves.

More below…Case in point:

This past election cycle, our elder daughter and a  classmate were “insulted” repeatedly and taunted as being (brace yourself for this one!) “DEMOCRATS!

In “Blue Maine”- go figure.

Something the kids throwing the insults out there picked up from home, I guess. When she told me, I told Mary to ignore it and go onward; in fact we got a chuckle out of it- was that REALLY the best these kids could DO?

And… after the elections, it stopped.

But here we have a much more complicated situation that is NOT going to stop, until some amount of “agree to disagree” occurs. The in-fighting among friends is reaching a bad fever pitch and frankly, I’m very concerned.

One true statement: MY rights end at the tip of YOUR nose.

Yes, it is a very overly simplified thought- but it’s true. The minute I say or do something that offends YOU, I have over-stepped.

For whatever reason, whether that was my intention or not, whether I agree that I have indeed done so, whether I think you are being overly sensitive, dramatic, what have you.

And as soon as it has been established that I HAVE over-stepped, the ONLY correct course of action is to back off and apologize.

So maybe that’s the closest we can come to a complete answer: We HAVE to respect each other’s rights and wishes, as well as avoid making generalizing statements- especially regarding language and labels.

Another case in point: I call myself a bitch fairly frequently and it doesn’t upset me one whit if someone else does. BUT- that word causes many others alot of upset and pain. So I have learned to drop it from the list of acceptable words I use online.

Others have their own “forbidden online but okay among friends in person” words- many of us do, I guess.

So back to the question: Am I cis? Am I straight?

Hi there: I am Louise- I take no offense at either word, but I prefer to simply be called Louise.

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Much of my personal time is spent coming up with clarified thoughts and framing to help my autistic daughter understand the huge variety of concepts around her. She is incredibly intelligent and it is immensely frustrating for her that the world seems to contain so many difficult-to-grasp nuances. So if I tend to over-simplify and mulch thoughts into smaller packages, that’s why…

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