“Preferred Pronouns” and “Common Courtesy”

Today, I very clearly told a man “NO, I am not comfortable with what you’re asking me to do,” but, still, he kept trying to shame me into feeling differently…


It started with a very clear explanation from Matt Walsh about WHY words matter and WHY going along with the LGBT language-butchering (with “preferred pronouns”) actually harms both the transgendered individuals and the rest of society.  (You get your own name, but not your own pronouns.) You should read the post, but the clincher paragraph is this one:

“Shouldn’t we just be polite and call people by their preferred pronouns, anyway?”

Answer: No. And here’s why.

First,…He/she is essentially saying, “Whenever you refer to me, even if I am 10 thousand miles away, you must abandon the rules of grammar and parrot whatever nonsense I assign to you.” That’s not only absurd — it’s also arrogant in the extreme.

Second, using an incorrect pronoun is not only nonsensical but also dishonest…I am lying. I may be lying with the best intentions, but a lie is a lie.”

The whole article does a great job outlining the objections to the idea that using a person’s “Preferred Prononun” is what any decent human being should do.

There are hundreds of thousands–probably millions–of people who feel genuinely uncomfortable about being asked to affirm a Transgendered Person’s Alternate Reality. 

It causes genuine anxiety to put them in a position where they have to choose between one person’s deeply held convictions and their own… 

Yet, still, right there in the comments of Matt’s article, this guy mocked the deeply held convictions of those millions of people:

10.16.19 EDITED, First post

Several people jumped in to explain that this actually is NOT harmless and it actually DOES affect their lives if they are expected to agree with untruths in the name of keeping the social peace…

But our beige friend kept insisting that it doesn’t hurt them and they’re only objecting because they’re hateful:

10.16.19 EDITED Abusive pronouns, it doesn't hurt you in any way

10.16.19 EDITED, hateful

At first, I tried to help Beige understand that small things can have big consequences, by referencing children who want to eat entire boxes of cereal.  I said, “they are little people in a big world” and “it’s such an easy thing to help them be happy” and “it doesn’t hurt me at all” to give them what they’re asking.

But, he didn’t like that comparison, of course, because children and adults are not the same.   Apparently, we cannot learn lessons from people younger than we are…

So, I switched tactics.

It’s true that children are just being CHILDREN when they test boundaries and try to win battles of will with their parents, through crying and demanding and saying “you’re mean!” if they don’t get what they ask…

But the analogy doesn’t work as well when it’s an ADULT using those same tactics to impose his/her will on cis-Society.

Children who don’t take “no” for an answer are being children; but adults who don’t take “no” for an answer are being abusive.  

And that’s when I realized…

…oh my goodness…

…I actually agree with a Feminist premise here.

It’s not fair to tell me to “just be nice” when a person is making me uncomfortable and asking me to violate my conscience.

And I realized….oh my goodness…if LGBT people were the ones being lectured about “basic courtesy” (and told their discomfort is “not a big deal”), they would flip out! They would stand up with the Feminists, who have long been arguing that it’s not “just basic courtesy” to smile at any man who requests one, even if you think it’s not that hard to be a nice person…


“Basic courtesy” does not mean submitting to your expectations for how I should feel.

“Basic courtesy” does not mean making sure your comfort comes before mine and then  adjusting my behavior whenever you decide it’s an easy thing for me.


Only abusive jerks will make a “simple request” and then punish you (by calling you “angry” or “hateful”) if you refuse. And I illustrated that point by using direct quotes from Beige:

10.16.19 EDITED Abusive Pronouns, white male

10.16.19 EDITED Abusive Pronouns, Why Are You so Angry


10.16.19 EDITED Abusive Pronouns, It's Not a big deal


The point is really simple. Every abuser in history genuinely believed he was only asking for “common courtesy”–for something he was ENTITLED to have just for being human–and then he shamed the person who wouldn’t give it to him.

Telling another human, “Hey, come on, this isn’t hurting you,” is CLASSIC abuse coersion. It’s sneaky and slimey and sometimes difficult to catch because the abuser pretends to be asking for permission–he pretends to take the moral high ground.

But, when you try to decline you will discover there are consequences. He doesn’t take “no” very kindly.

10.16.19 Edited, you're hateful

I’m not “bent out of shape” or “discriminatory” or struggling with “disdain/hate,” you gaslighting imbecile.

You’re simply struggling to accept that no means no.

I will retain my right to my own thoughts and feelings, even if you make sarcastic comments or use shaming language and imply that I’m not a very Nice Girl.

No. Transgendered people (and their allies) do not get to decide what “easy, simple, harmless” thing they’re entitled to receive from anyone.

1 thought on ““Preferred Pronouns” and “Common Courtesy”

  1. Pingback: If “Common Courtesy” Won’t Work, Abusers Will Raise the Stakes | Cultures at War

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