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A note on why I don't list my pronouns

I grew up nonbinary, asked if I was a boy or girl every day, til I was 12. 

I had to fight to be genderless, to be myself. 
 

I support wholeheartedly the practice to share and lead with pronouns in order for people to be seen and identified for who they are. 

 

But for me, putting my pronoun first, whether she, he or them, keeps me locked into feeling like my gender identity defines me, as opposed to feeling like it fits me.

 

I fought for years to just be Dhira. While my pronouns have always been she/her, that doesn’t mean as much about how and who I am as the mole on my cheek, the twitch in my eye, the way I use my hand more than words. That doesn’t make me feel more safe than being able to meet you first and have you draw in the details later.  That may seem like a privilege, but I assure you it hasn’t always been that way. Keeping people in the mystery has sometimes been the most authentic way for me to keep being myself. Perhaps this is because of sexism, but unfortunately, that's something that's still very much alive.

 

I do not wish my choice to put anyone else at unease. It's a strange feeling that such important progress for so many could feel like the opposite for me personally.

 

I don’t purport for this to be true for anyone else…I don’t mention this to be a better way. It’s just being honest to how it feels to be in my lived body experience, every day. I take seriously people’s pronouns and do not make excuses for institutions and people to not be able to do the work to adapt to the ask.

 

Yet if we are going to embrace nonbinary thinking and identities, I believe we have to keep even our nonbinary options from falling into this or that, right or wrong. For that, I’m exercising my right to not lead with my pronouns, first.

I welcome the dialogue and disagreements that it may bring.

Thank you for taking the time to lean in and read this.

 

Dhira

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