"Xe, xi, xer"

published Oct 31, 2016, last modified Nov 20, 2016

Respond to "these are my pronouns" by striking at the heart of the personal threat behind made-up pronouns.

"Xe, xi, xer"

Clarify something for me, please:

When you tell me these are my pronouns, are you asking me to use them?  Or are you ordering me?

One of these is okay — the other crosses a line.

See, if all you're doing is asking, that means you don't think I must be obligated to comply with your request.  Accordingly, you won't retaliate against me, if I fail to comply.  You may be upset that someone doesn't share your ideas, but you'll understand that no one is obligated to do so.  That is respectable.

However, if what you're making is a demand, you'll naturally feel like enforcing your demand.  It is at this point that you will cross the line: when I fail to comply with your beliefs, you will threaten me or retaliate against me.  First, you will try to manipulate me into submission.  If that fails, then you will try to get people around me to hate me — friends, family, business relationships — for not submitting to your beliefs.  Lastly, you might even physically attack me.  As you do this, you will imply that my disobedience was some sort of wrongdoing, and use that as a pretext to say I deserved this revenge.  This behavior will prove to everyone watching that what you initially presented as a polite request was, in fact, selfish control freakery all along.

The line is clear.  You control yourself, and thus you may ask me to share your beliefs as well as argue for them, and I will happily listen.  However, you do not get to control others; manipulating or attacking others in order to gain their compliance makes you the asshole and the transgressor.  You do not have the right to demand that others conform to your beliefs, and transgressing this common sense expectation is a violation of others' autonomy.

So, are you asking, or are you ordering?

Nota bene: what made me finally decide to write these ideas down was Jordan B Peterson's excellent response to the lies propagated about him.  Here's a prior video of him speaking his mind.

Update: as of November 19 2016, Canada has made it legally clear that the pronouns bullshit is certainly not a request — it's a threat.