Preferred Gender Pronoun

| Nov 9, 2015
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By Cate O’Malley — She/Her/Hers/Herself

Preferred Gender Pronouns

What is a Preferred Gender Pronoun (PGP)? Here’s the definition:

A preferred-gender pronoun (PGP) is a pronoun an individual chooses to identify with and would prefer others use when talking to or about that individual.

You may be seeing it more in print documents, on the Internet in stories and biographies, and hearing it in person. As I’ve demonstrated above, this is how my PGP’s would appear. I first saw it on the Web added to a byline for an article. Being confused about what it meant and after researching it, I understand what they are trying to accomplish. I also find more and more colleges, universities and corporations are publishing guidelines to assist their staff, faculties, or employees to be more aware and tolerant to trans* and gender non-conforming people.

In-person guidelines

The same universities, colleges, and corporations who are encouraging their folks to declare their PGP, are also encouraging all people to respectfully ask a person, any person, their preferred gender pronouns or ask them how they would like to be addressed. It saves both individuals from any embarrassment or hurt feelings.

My objection

However, I have an objection to the word “preferred.” An argument can be made that anything preferred may also be ignored. You may prefer sunny side up eggs, but I don’t like them so I’ll serve you scrambled. You may prefer apples, but I give you avocados. I am Cate/she/her/hers/herself, but have had experiences were people have preferred to call me male, he, faggot and freak. I don’t want a preference.

My pronouns

I want my pronouns. I am not a preference. I am Cate. I am a woman. My pronouns are she/her/hers/herself. There’s no preference here, this is what I insist upon. My cisgender friends and family do not have to have a preference and neither do I. I understand if you knew me before I began living honestly and you are confused or slip up. It happens to us all. However, we deserve and demand the same respect that everyone deserves.

Good, old-fashioned manners

I want to go back to the good, old-fashioned manners my mother beat into me and my sister’s heads. I use all those stuffy phrases even now: ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘yes ma’am,’ ‘no sir.’ They are still relevant. When you meet someone new you stick out your hand and say, “I’m Cate, it’s nice to meet you.” It worked for centuries and it still works. Give it a try. Civility and courtesy are always good and you don’t have to list a string of pronouns, some of which most people haven’t heard of before.

I didn’t prefer

I didn’t prefer to be trans*. I didn’t prefer to be short, or born in the United States, or Caucasian, or to be fabulous. It is what it is. My pronouns and my name are not my preferences, they are who I am.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

I am Cate, a mature transgender woman. I am a writer, blogger, parent, grandparent, sailor, activist and happy. I am a widow, and live with my yorkiepoo, Belle. I love music, reading, cooking, outdoors, DIY, theater, antiquing and flea markets, home brewing, and seeing what is around the bend in the road or over the horizon. I own the website. It is an outreach, support and resource for mature trans* people and especially for those who, like me, came out after fifty.

Comments (3)

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  1. angela_g angela_g says:

    Here here, Cate.

  2. joseygurl23 joseygurl23 says:

    Cate, thanks so much for letting me know about TG! And, your article, here, is right on. However, I am not a fully transitioned TG. I am only able to dress on occasion. So, for me, I have TWO sets of PGP’s. But, really, the rules don’t change that much at all. When I am in male mode, husband, father, etc., I, of course am addressed in the appropriate manner for that role. When I present as a woman, my peer group and fans, invariably call me by my name, Josey, and they almost always use she, her, hers, maam, etc. When someone DOES use an incorrect pronoun, one look of concern from me, followed by a smile and a gentle correction / instruction, and we’re laughin’. GREAT article 🙂

  3. JosyC JosyC says:

    Terrific! Thank you.


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