Month: July 2015

TIMP in the media!

“We have to be willing to fail and have humility to be kind and be respectful when we are corrected and then move on,” Airton told Mashable. “That’s a very hard skill.”

TIMP has been featured in the big leagues of social media journalism! On Mashable!

In February I was contacted by a journalist from Mashable in connection with this blog. The interview and fact-checking process made me think a lot about being and presenting myself as a gender-neutral pronoun user and a trans spectrum person, particularly with regard to the media. It was interesting and the journalist was very respectful, but I have delayed sharing the article on TIMP until now because I feel ambivalent about being portrayed as someone who struggles with “dread and anxiety” or who “regularly navigates” a “complicated reality.” This is not untrue, but it’s hard to feel like one is commenting from a position as a long-time blogger and a scholar (in addition to writing TIMP, I’m an academic who researches and publishes on gender and sexual diversity issues) but is eventually represented as someone who’s authority only comes from their individual (and dreadful and anxious) existence. I think this references a trend in how LGBTQ people are portrayed, and also how we portray ourselves in order to make sure that we get money, space and time in places like schools to do the work we know is important. However, at this point my academic and TIMP selves are oddly merging and I must desist!

That said, however, TIMP appreciates the publicity and the willingness of Mashable to take up this important issue!

Advertisements

“Hey there chum!” Some non-gendered terms for friends

I had a lovely question on Tumblr recently (where you can ask me/TIMP questions, whether anonymously or no) about gender-neutral terms of affection for friends. I had already written a similar little post on lovers.

First of all, this is a really lovely question. I come across many people with differing opinions on whether pretty generic gendered words can be gender-neutral terms of affection or address. I tend to use ‘guys’ a lot myself but I know this doesn’t work for everyone. Some friends of mine have used ‘guy’ in this way, but also encountered some who didn’t prefer this for gender reasons.

I personally like:

pal

friend (a bit Shakespearean on the page but feels really nice in practice)

cuz

buddy (although this is sometimes experienced as masculinizing)

dear (potentially condescending but can be nice)

love (why keep this for the conjugal?)

chum

I also like using more silly things like:

captain

champ

kiddo

But I am a bit silly and use humour a lot in my relationship to gender, as a person and a teacher, so these might feel more easy for people like me (see my post on introverts).

Stepping outside of gendered language is also an opportunity to create your own language. I recently realized that I have nicknames for every single one of my friends: things that have sprung organically out of our friendship and the things we do or stories we share together.

Thanks for the mindful question, Tumblr user, and for your awareness that it’s one worth asking! 🙂

Warmly,

Lee