In what is likely a losing battle, Washington Post writer Kat Jercich warned readers this week that we’d better stop making jokes about gender pronouns when we’re told by people which ones to use. Coming hot on the heels of Merriam-Webster naming the gender-neutral “they” (as a singular pronoun) as the Word of the Year for 2019, Jercich is here to tell us that we need to start censoring ourselves, because it’s really not funny, dammit!
In making her point, Jercich sets the stage by reminding us of a few recent times where gender pronouns were mocked.
“Earlier this fall, during an LGBTQ town hall on CNN, Sen. Kamala D. Harris said her pronouns were ‘she’ and ‘her,’” she recalls.
“‘Mine too,’ said host Chris Cuomo. The backlash was instantaneous. By the end of the night, Cuomo had apologized on Twitter, noting his sorrow as ‘an ally of the LGBTQ community’ — but still not managing to state his pronouns. And I wondered, not for the first time: Why can’t cisgender people be semi-normal about this?” she writes.
Um, because nothing is normal about this at all? Because Kamala Harris was blatantly and pathetically pandering to the LGBT audience, and she deserved to be mocked? Because in the blink of an eye, we went from all agreeing that there were men and there were women, and that was basically all we needed to worry about…to today’s world, where it seems like every third person is some other thing that didn’t exist ten years ago? We’d say a little light mockery IS being “semi-normal” about it. It’s being about as normal as any sane person can be about something this ridiculous.
“Those of us who make a point of identifying our pronouns often want to make sure that others see us as we are,” she continues. “Having my gender interpreted incorrectly makes me feel panicky, like trying on a sweater that’s too tight around the neck in a crowded store. Others have said it makes them feel stigmatized, lonely, dysphoric, depressed or threatened. It’s not appropriate for people who aren’t in danger of being fired, evicted or even murdered for their gender identity to decide that pronouns are a joking matter.”
Look, it comes down to this: It’s your problem. And the fact is, you may have Hollywood and the media on your side right now, but you’re just never going to convince everyone that people can just magically change genders. You can be a girl that acts and dresses like a boy, but that doesn’t make you a boy. It doesn’t entitle you to some social transformation where all of society buys into your personal delusion. Sorry, it just doesn’t.
You’re asking millions of rational human beings to validate your insanity. If the worst you get out of it are some jokes about “attack helicopters,” we’d say you’re way ahead of the game. You should probably be grateful.