A conversation about pronouns


“So, hey, I have a friend with what I think is a pretty… unique situation. You’re pretty savvy with this pronoun stuff, right?”

“Hm, I try to be, anyway.”

“Okay, so, this friend was born male—”

“Assigned male at birth.”

“… Right. Anyway. Assigned male at birth, totally identifies as male, one hundred percent happy being male. Wears men’s clothes, uses the extremely masculine name given to them, is completely secure in her masculinity, completely normal cis man.”

“Wait, so uh… okay, ‘normal’ is loaded, but… ‘Her?’”

“Yeah, that’s the thing. She prefers to be referred to with she/her pronouns.”

“… Huh. Is there any particular… reason for that?”

“Not as far as I can tell! I’ve asked her about it and she said that she just… likes it.”

“But… …she… doesn’t identify as a woman at all?

“Nope. And I thought that maybe she is trying to, like, normalize the idea that language is a social construct or something, or push against the idea that ‘he’ is the gender-neutral pronoun, but nope. She just likes the sound of it.”

“And you’re sure she isn’t, like, trans or anything?”

“I mean, I asked her if she feels bad being called he/him, and no, she doesn’t seem to experience dysphoria around her gender or around being called he/him. She just.. prefers she/her.”

“Huh, okay. Well, I mean, anyone can choose to have whatever pronouns they want, and we should all respect that, no matter what the underlying reason is…”

“That’s just the thing, everyone around her does respect it. Even if they’re awful about misgendering actual trans women, for some reason they’re 100% on board with using she/her pronouns for this… well, totally nor— … um, extremely cis man.”

“Aside from the pronouns.”

“Yes, aside from the pronouns.”

“Huh. Well, um… this is an interesting situation, I think, but it probably shouldn’t be interesting. It’s kind of refreshing to hear about? I mean, sort of. I wish people would respect my pronouns that easily, but…”

“Yeah, it’s like the dog thing.”

“Dog thing?”

“Y'know, how people trip over themselves to make sure that they’re using the correct pronouns for a dog? That doesn’t even know what pronouns are and doesn’t give the tiniest shit about them? While still misgendering trans people because it’s ‘so hard?’”

“Ah, yeah, that. Well. Okay. So what’s the problem your friend is having?”

“Oh, she isn’t having a problem at all. I’m just wondering, do you know what this situation would be called?”

“Sounds like she’s a… she-male?”


“Yeah, I only realized what I was saying as it was leaving my mouth.”