Grad School Essays
The manifesto’s answer seemed to be the same as that of the Trump administration: consign us to our old names, strip us of the pronoun changes that we have so peremptorily demanded that the world accommodate, and tell us that they are doing so for the sake of truth and our mental health.Or, as the author Christopher Reed puts it, he wants to “allow for a reasoned variety of pronoun address and citation.” And what, , could be more liberal than that?
I respond in order to attempt to establish a baseline protocol for scholarly discourse with trans and non-binary students and faculty — both in research and in teaching; to encourage other faculty to sign on to such a protocol; and to place Reed’s “axiomatic” solidly on the other side of it.
Trans and non-binary students do not have either the privileges I enjoy, nor necessarily the power to assert the privileges to which they are entitled.
On the evidence of Reed’s document, for example, some students are being misnamed (as it is sometimes called in the community, “deadnamed”) and misgendered by those charged to teach them. A second concern is that I am wary of supplying this man with the outraged and angry attention that he has solicited.
Trans people pose a specific kind of challenge to free speech discourse, and it’s kind of interesting.
Because many of us change our names, and because our changes in sex and gender often place us in new relations to the gendered pronouns of third person reference, it therefore falls to others to make minor adjustments in the way they describe us.