Thanks very much for getting the Flibbith report back to me, I’ll aim to have the flibs completed by Friday as we discussed in the meeting today.
Also, as a minor side-note: earlier in this email exchange, I noticed that you referred to me as she. I’d be very grateful if you avoid doing this in the future. I use they, them, theirs. So in your earlier email, it should read “Matherix has sent us their Flibbith report on-time for once!”
If you’re finding this difficult, I’d be happy to schedule a time with you and Dimwelp to discuss the possibility of bringing in someone for trainings. I also have some blog posts and articles I can share if you feel like you need other resources for learning about pronouns.
Thanks for understanding, and I’ll see you at the Probus retreat if not sooner!
Junior Vice Associate Bomner
Dear Professor Manky,
I have long enjoyed our work together researching Tadpole Neutrino Theory, and appreciate your warm mentorship and rapport.I am writing to let you know that, going forward, I will be using the pronouns she/her. I will introduce myself in this Friday’s lab meeting with my new pronouns, but I wanted to give you advance notice so that it’s not a surprise in a group setting.
Thanks very much,
This is a general annoucement that my pronouns are xe/xyr. You can learn more about this type of pronoun at this link, and get some resources for how to learn and practice these pronouns at this link. This link includes a “frequently asked questions” section about pronouns, written by a linguistics professor. I am not ready to have general workplace conversations about personal matters such as my gender, but I would be very happy if you endeavor to use xe pronouns when referring to me.
How wonderful to hear from you, thanks so much for reaching out! I’ve been well since we last talked — as you obviously know, I’m now at U of Vinsl, and still settling in. I’d absolutely love to chat about collaborating on another paper about Virtual Tree Construction! Want to have a quick zoom sometime next week to discuss what you have in mind?
Also, just as an update, I’m using he/him now. (No name change, I’m still just Cretch :)
Looking forward to chatting soon!
I really appreciate your comments yesterday, especially about the entanglement tendrils. I’ve been looking for more examples of [very long paragraph redacted]
The other reason I’m writing you is because I’m a little hurt that you’re still calling me she, especially in a context like Tendril Lab where everyone there knows me well as either a student or a peer. We’ve talked about this a few times, and I thought that we had come to the conclusion that if they is grammatically difficult for you, then he will be okay. This is getting more important to me as time goes on, because I’m going to be trying to establish myself as an independent scholar soon, and I really need as many allies as I can get before I’m on the job market or fighting for recognition in a new department. As far as I can tell, you do understand where I’m coming from, and I trust that you’re on my side in this — but people pay attention to your words in professional settings, and I worry that people take me less seriously when they are hearing contradicting pronouns about me in these settings.
I understand that it’s easy to forget, especially when we’re focusing on the tendril theory and not my gender identity, but that’s also the reason that I feel really uncomfortable about correcting you on the spot. I don’t want to have to interrupt a conversation about my work to talk about my gender instead.
If you’d like to talk more about this, I am happy to make time. It’s really important to me that we’re okay, because you’re really important to me as a entangleoligist and mentor.
Shoot, is that one overly personal? Considering how often I had to correct people on my pronouns in grad school, I have shockingly few email receipts — I always (perhaps foolishly) did it face to face, rather than in person. For the record, after that one, I did meet with that mentor and we did have a really wonderful heart to heart and they never messed up in front of me again.
My friends on the website that is not twitter asked me (/I overenthusiastically and unpromptedly offered) to write some email templates for pronoun-related work-email stuff. Scenarios:
- You misgendered me while reply-all-ing this email so I know you’ve been probably doing it when I’m not in the email thread too. Cut it the fuck out
- I have new pronouns. Please don’t come up to me at the water cooler and ask if this means I’m getting the new experimental surgery that gives me four extra boobs. Just use the fucking pronouns.
- I have new pronouns and they’re spicy. Please just TRY. My expectations are honestly very low but I don’t want you to be able to claim you didn’t know.
I surely haven’t covered all possible Pronoun Work Emails — if you have a specific request, let me know, and I’ll whip up a little fake email for you! (I’ll do this until this post gets unreasonably long or I get bored, whichever happens first).
Here are some of my posts that might be helpful as you’re sending these emails:
- How to do the absolute minimum with pronouns — a satisfyingly VERY short guide to share with total pronoun noobs. You could even link it from your email signature if you’re feeling zesty
- How to stop messing up pronouns — to share if someone claims that they’re trying and they don’t know why they keep messing up and misgendering you
- What to do when someone uses multiple pronouns — if someone is confused about what to do with your he/they/she email signature, this is a good place to point them towards
- Put a coin in the pronoun jar — if someone is misgendering you and not noticing repeatedly, this is sometimes helpful for them. You might want to have an ally send it to them rather than doing so yourself
- How do I make people stop misgendering me? — for you, if you’re feeling demoralized and exhausted about this. I promise it gets better, and you’re not being unreasonable or too sensitive for finding it painful