Post by Aura of Cruxis on Jun 2, 2011 23:53:17 GMT -5
Being born and raised in the conservative South of the USA, I was taught to alwaaaaays say "sir" and "ma'am," no exceptions. Of course, in the conservative South, I'd never really encountered many gays, lesbians, or transgendered. When I had gone to Dallas and bumped into a lesbian (clearly groomed masculine), I instinctively said, "Excuse me, ma'am." She didn't reply back and I wondered if I had offended her...
Do you think we should adapt [American] English to become more politically correct?
Should we develop a more "gender neutral" term or form English to become a very "gender neutral" speech altogether? =P
There have been efforts to make (modern) English more gender-neutral for quite a while according to Wikipedia's page on it. There are some grassroot pronouns that were made to help with this, like Ze/Zir, and I have seen them occasionally used online, but it seems they haven't caught on mainstream-wise yet.
I think this will continue to try to be worked out though, because the current mainstream methods of using "it/they" are really not considerate or respectful at all. @_@ And as more awareness and support grows for LGBTQ lifestyles, the language problem will be addressed more as well.
That's an interesting point about the Sir/Ma'am part though, I haven't heard any gender-neutral alternatives for those. I'm sure someone somewhere has/is figuring it out, though. But I personally think that as long as you sound respectful when addressing others like that, then it's okay until a better alternative comes around or they state their preference. Everyone is different anyway though; so what works for one person will be offensive for another, etc.
Well, if it's clearly a female - even if groomed to be the groom - I don't think Ma'am would be wrong. I am sure if she was offended, she would have let you know.
I would not worry too much about it. Save that til you move up north. It's not common usage there and especially younger people will look at you weird when you call them that! (my Aunt used to do that to her younger superiors on the job 'Yes, Ma'am' when they ticked her off) ;D
When you encounter a transgender person, I guess the best way would be to ask what he/she would like to be called.
So basically, stick with it. It's not a bad word. (on the other side, calling a lesbian a Sir, just because she is more masculine could get you into trouble )
You are making this much too difficult. Simply ask the person what they would like to be referred to and that's that. From my experience they will not be at all offended at the question, in fact they will be happy to correct any misconception you might have.
Post by Appayipyip the Klingon on Jun 6, 2011 22:09:30 GMT -5
If anything, she was annoyed you bumped into her (even though you clearly apologized, some people just want an excuse to be annoyed) But in your case, I'd say that's just what you were taught, and people should deal with it.
Gender neutral pronouns are on the rise- I use ze/zir at times. But keep in mind that the idea of pronouns in general perpetuates gender binary, and in order to change our language we need to change our mindset.
[[ we're the strangers left to break, held together by the secrets we create ]]