The workshop opened with the invitation for each participant to share their preferred pronoun and how they would be identifying during our time together. After listening to a few others answer I better understood what was expected of me. When it was my turn I said, “Hi, I’m Carmen and my preferred pronoun is ‘she’ and I identify as a heterosexual woman in a committed monogamous marriage to one man.” Throughout the workshop I respectfully obliged those who asked to be called pronouns that were not aligned with their biological gender but with their fluid or preferred gender identity. And there was an individual who asked that we refer to them as they.
There was a time when that sentence would have been nonsensical but in a world where parents pay for their teenage child to have a double mastectomy on her way to transgendering, nothing surprises us. Those same parents paid to have their child’s eggs harvested before the massive doses of hormones rendered her body unable to reproduce. They are working very hard to make her a man and yet they want to preserve the female DNA with which she was born. When she becomes he – and he identifies as heterosexual – what will his wife say about him bringing eggs to the procreative process? That’s not the contribution the man is designed to make. But he is not, in fact, a man.
But I digress. This is actually a post about what people call each other. There was a time when I was Miss and then I took on other titles, including Rev. for a time and now Mrs. Everyone knows it. None of it is a secret nor the least bit mysterious. So, to choose to address me as something else is certainly intentional.
That’s why the salutation “Dear Mx.* LaBerge,” caught my attention. Following the asterick to the bottom of the page, I read the sender’s intent, “Mx. is the title used when the gender of a person is in transition, multiple, unidentified, or nonessential.”
The person writing to me knows me well. Because she knows me, I am left to interpret her salutation as intentionally designed to offend. But lest others be confused, for the record, I am a woman. I joyfully identify as a woman. I am not in transition, multiple, nor nonessential. But neither is my gender nor my sexuality equivalent to my identity. Furthermore, I’m not offended by the attempt of this writer to offend me. I’ve been called so much worse than Mx.
As for name calling, when in doubt, just call me Carmen.