Okay, no, I don’t like the name-calling or the stares or the laughs. I don’t like being an object to be judged. Glad life doesn’t have a swimsuit competition.

No, what I mean is that I don’t really mind which pronouns or the like people use with me. Whatever they are comfortable with really is fine with me. I’ve said it multiple times, though: I don’t like the kind-of made up ones that people try to use but there is not consistency to. If you don’t know, use the third-person plural. It’s okay. Your 4th grade teacher won’t correct you.

I say this because I was called ma’am a few times today, something I’m quite okay with. Sir is fine, too, though I don’t want people feeling bad when they aren’t sure. I know there is the perception that misgendering can be a capital offense, and if you do it on purpose, yeah, you’re more than a bit of a jerk. But in my case, I’m both expressive and inconclusive. Call me what you call me. It’s all good.

Though I do ask my classes not to call me Mr. I just don’t like that. If you’re going to use anything like that, you should use Dr. I earned that thing. But I ask them instead to call me by my first name. This is college. I’m not on a pedestal. I’m here to help you get where you’re going. I have to uphold standards, but let’s not put some enormous moat between us.

So while I can’t speak for those who get misgendered all of the time, I would encourage people to relax. Do your best. If you don’t know, that’s no reason for anyone to jump down your throat if you get it wrong. And if they are, chalk it up to them maybe having a bad day or a previous encounter going badly.

Really, it’s good. And ma’am at least tells me I’m starting to look right about how I want to look.