Your TIMP host

Welcome to TIMP!

lee-airton-2My name is Lee Airton. I’ve been involved for many years in transgender-spectrum and communities during the rise of current gender-neutral pronoun usage. I have been using singular they as my personal pronoun since 2011, and I started TIMP in 2012.

My motivation for creating this blog came from experiences about pronouns in transgender and/or non-binary peoples’ lives, both my own and those shared with me by others. My experiences with TIMP and the Canadian political climate around gender-neutral pronouns led me to found the No Big Deal Campaign last fall, which helps people use and show their support for our right to have our pronouns used in everyday life. Based on TIMP, I’ve also written a book out in October 2018 called Gender: Your Guide – A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Say, What to Know, and What to Do in the New Gender Culture that is available for pre-order.

In my day job, I’m an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University where I teach in Bachelor of Education and graduate programs (in fact, I’m interested in speaking to people who’d like to think about graduate studies). I hold a Ph.D. in Education from York University, and previous degrees in education and gender studies from McGill University. You can learn more about my work and get in touch with me by visiting my website.

 

24 comments

  1. No questions…yet. I just want to say I am very thankful to have stumbled upon this blog. I am cis-gendered but looking use “they” pronoun as a means of erasing the lines between my masculinity and femininity (because why should everything be so stratified and binary anyway?) Going forward “professionally” and academically, I think it is important to make room for “they” and I’m inspired that others are doing the same. Thanks for writing about your experiences and answering questions…the information is invaluable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, beegirl53! I’m so glad that TIMP is useful, even when it becomes a little dormant given my workload fluctuations. Please keep in touch! 🙂

      > >

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  2. I’m hoping this reaches you. I would really love to ask a question. I’m not young and not tech savvy, but want to respect and acknowledge and hold in high esteem a friend and co worker. How can I ask a question and find the answer? Thank you for your help.

    Kim

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    1. Hello Kim! So very happy to hear from you. You are welcome to ask me a question in this comment thread, if that is easiest. You can also click on the ‘supporting users’ and ‘work’ tags in the list of tags above at right, in case anything there is helpful. But please do use this space to ask a question of your own.

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  3. I’m writing a speech in school to argue that singular they should be allowed in American English. My teachers have always been refusing to refer to me by my preferred pronouns ever since I first asked them. Your advice on this blog is so inspirational and I can’t help but to want to continue to try and convince my teachers that it is not incorrect to use they as a singular pronoun. Thank you so much Lee.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi,
    I am looking for some advice on how to best help the LGBTQ community. I own Queernews.com, My pronouns.com, and LGBT resource center.com. I am currently looking to develop these sites but don’t really have a clear vision of how to utilize them for maximum impact on the LGBTQ community.
    I would appreciate any suggestions,
    Cheers,
    Straight Ally

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  5. Question regarding verb agreements with the singular ‘they’.

    Should the single or plural verb agreement be used with they when the ‘they’ is singular?

    e.g. Would one say “they goes to work every morning” when describing your weekday morning routine?

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    1. “The go to work every morning”
      The speech is not meant to become awkward. Like when people say “They is going to the store” it is incorrect. The pronoun is singular; however, to keep speech from being awkward, use it in a sentence with the same words as if plural “They are going to the store”

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    1. Hello Abbeh!

      Good question! I’m not sure and will look into it. You can follow me on Tumblr or on Twitter, where my more formal posts get posted as well. I’ll try to work out an RSS feed or similar.

      Take care,

      Lee

      >

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      1. Hi, I own mypronouns.com ( also queernews.com and LGBT resource center.com) recently started receiving emails with questions from people who are visiting your blog. I’m not sure why I am receiving copies of their questions???

        Cheers, Keith 386-848-9183

        >

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  6. Hi Lee,
    Just back to TIMP after a time away and saw that your “about you” has an update to Asst. Prof. at Queens. Congratulations! I’m so grateful for your visit to our campus, the conversation it sparked, and this space where we can all continue to learn from your musings!

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    1. Why thank you so much! ☺

      From: They Is My Pronoun Reply-To: Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 4:01 PM To: Subject: [They Is My Pronoun] Comment: “Your TIMP host”

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  7. Hi! I came to your site to learn more about conversing with plural pronouns. I found an ad from Young Living saying “Be a Man’s Man,” or something similar. Thought they? would like a heads up.

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  8. I stumbled upon your book and loved it- it answered so many questions for me. I was curious about your website and it was a amazing as the book! Thank you so much- I really appreciate it😄

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  9. Dear Dr. Airton,
    Each year, a group of male-identified Friends from my Quaker meeting go on a weekend retreat together. We call it “the men’s retreat”. I am one of the organizers of this event, and I have questions now about whether it is non-inclusive. In my experience, there is nothing explicitly anti-female or anti-trans or anti-non-binary-conforming happening on the retreat. But still, is there a way we could be more inclusive? Should we cancel the whole thing? What about the women’s retreat?

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    1. Hello Toby,

      Thank you for your comment and question! This is something that a lot of people who organize gender-related events have been wrestling with in the past few years in the midst of trans folks re-emerging into public life in greater numbers. There is plenty of meaning and significance in gathering together as men, and in gathering together as women (and in gathering together along gender affinity lines when folks are not neatly men or women).

      The task isn’t to get rid of traditions that are meaningful, healthy and helpful. It’s to make them more accessible so that the assumption is not “cisgender women’s retreat” or “cisgender men’s retreat.” A transgender woman and a cisgender woman are both women; both benefit from opportunities to build women’s communities and support networks, so excluding trans women is the problem (not having a women’s retreat).

      The trouble is that many transgender people assume automatically that we aren’t thought about or aren’t considered or included or welcome at binary-gendered events or spaces because that is what we have experienced before. So, while there may be no explicit intent to exclude transgender men (for example) from the ‘men’s retreat,’ the absence of any explicit trans-inclusive language will very likely keep trans folks away. We are still in a historical moment when cis is the assumed norm and trans is extra; trans-inclusive space is not the norm, but must be created and communicated.

      Having a trans-inclusive ‘men’s retreat’ might also mean some differences in language use and facilitation around bodies and men’s diverse relationships with their bodies (and diverse bodies), too. So, lots to think about, but no need to abandon the whole enterprise!

      Your Quaker meeting might benefit from engaging a consultant to help you produce some changes in your space; even remotely, these folks can be very helpful.

      Hope that helps,

      Lee

      From: They Is My Pronoun Reply-To: Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 7:57 AM To: Subject: [They Is My Pronoun] Comment: “Your TIMP host”

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  10. Hi. No question, just wanted to say thank you. So much. I am a non-binary person who uses they/them pronouns and I just read your book. I’ve read many books on gender and your book was the most practical and so so helpful in giving me ideas for how to approach coworkers (I work in a gym) who constantly mispronoun me. I also wanted to share that my daughter- who is 12 and NEVER makes a mistake with my pronoun, told me the way she got it was when I first came out she just imagined me with the word they on my shirt every time she saw me. She just used a visual! (And made it up herself! As a child!) And it worked;)
    Anyway. Thank you so so much. Your work is priceless.

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    1. Well my goodness! ☺ ☺ Thank you so much, and you are so welcome!

      From: They Is My Pronoun Reply-To: Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 11:50 AM To: Subject: [They Is My Pronoun] Comment: “Your TIMP host”

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  11. I am a cisgender feminist/lesbian with a degree in linguistics (from the 90’s). I have been committed to third-person-singular, gender-neutral “they” for much longer than I’ve been aware of non-binary identities, just from a basic “fuck the patriarchy, “he” was never gender-neutral” perspective.

    Now I’m in a very progressive non-profit world where we all identify preferred pronouns. Here’s my question: If I introduce myself as “She/her or they/them,” … and what I mean is “I identify as female but I also firmly support using “they/them” for me and everyone else” …. is that mostly perceived as supportive, or as encroaching on territory that doesn’t belong to me?

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    1. For me, I’d like to see everyone adopt they/them for everyone (other than people who specifically ask you not to). I’d like to see a world free of gendered rules and expectations. I think that would be good for everyone, not just non binary people.

      Like

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