Ok this has been rolling around in my head for months now brought on by several different things. I felt it was time I tried to share some of these thoughts.
First, let me explain the different things that got me thinking on this line. It seems the number of transvestites, gender swappers, gender benders, gender neutral and other gender issues has been on the increase. Why? I have no idea. I have theories but that’s a different post.
Secondly, I started seeing more and more of these people in various locations. And lastly, I was in one of my favorite southern deli’s and my order was taken by a person who by all outward signs appeared to be a beautiful woman but when she opened her mouth a manly voice came out.
Now, I have my own personal beliefs on what these people are doing but I still try to love and respect these people as individuals and God’s creatures. So I try not to treat them any differently.
But here’s the point of my post. Although I do try not to treat these people any differently, offering them the same kindness I would any other person the fact is, they see me treating them differently.
Here’s why. If you are from the South and I mean FROM or OF the South, if you were born, here, raised here, schooled here, then you’ll get it. If you are just IN the South but not OF the south you won’t get it. You see we southerners were raised with certain manners and sadly some of those manners have been slacking in recent decades (I’m talking about the removing your hat indoors and especially at a dinner table..you baseball cap wearers you know your mama or your grandmother would slap that hat right off your head but yet you wear it proudly in Ihop every time you go.) But again, that’s another post. One of our manners that still seems to be upheld is the use of saying M’am and Sir. I teach my children that yes and no are lonely and never should be said alone. It should ALWAYS be yes ma’am, no ma’am and yes sir, no sir. Anything other than that is just plain RUDE.
So…with my southern upbringing while talking with the person who exhibited signs of both genders I had to answer yes ___? This sent my brain into a thought process of what is the right word here? I don’t want to use the wrong one and upset them. So what they see is me giving them this odd look as my brain tries to process how to say yes sir or yes mam without choosing the wrong one.
Now, before you go and say, “that’s why we need a genderless pronoun”. That ain’t gonna fly in the south. We have our ways like waving at strangers on country roads, etc. and you ain’t gonna change that by throwing in another pronoun. All you’ll do is add more confusion by us then wondering if the person would be offended if we use the genderless pronoun. Maybe she’s just an ordinary tom boy who likes to be rough and tough but also identifies as a traditional female and she would be offended if I used the new gender neutral pronoun. So it doesn’t solve the problem of us southerners and our traditions of showing respect to individuals by always answering with yes mam, no man, yes sir, no sir.
And don’t even suggest that we southerners change and adapt to the rest of the country. That ain’t gonna happen either. We are who we are and we are proud of our heritage. I suppose next time I am faced with the situation I’m just going to assume if they are dressing like a female they are expecting the world to see them as a female and pray that if I get it wrong they aren’t going to punch me in the face or worse go into a tizzy ranting and raving about something.