Decolonizing Sex & Gender: The Pronoun Issue

I came across this post on a facebook group:

The post rubbed me the wrong way in tone and content, so I left this comment:

If we spoke the language of the people whose land we are now colonizing, there is a high probability that we would be speaking a language that does not use male or female pronouns (since there are currently hundreds of different Indigenous languages in North America, many of which do not use male/female pronouns).

Point being it wasn’t and isn’t cool of colonists to force Native people to speak English and it’s not cool to make demands of, or police people’s language, period.  It’s also not cool (and impossible) to control how others perceive and experience us — if I experience someone’s energy as feminine or masculine or both, nothing someone says or does will change this.  I can and do use people’s preferred pronouns to be nice (and for safety reasons – I get it), so I guess if authenticity isn’t a priority in all of this, then it’s all good?  The colonist culture has a real problem with respecting boundaries.


On the trans* topic in general, from a DEcolonist and Indigenous perspective, it’s really simple:  Nature is to be respected.  Who are we to say Nature’s oddities are mistakes?  When things get unbalanced (which the colonist culture so “successfully” creates over and over), lots of mistakes happen, destruction & suffering abound.  Nature when left alone is perfectly imperfect.  When we take the time to observe Nature, we can plainly see sex and gender expressed and enacted in infinitely diverse ways, and following no rules.  Humans are part of Nature and as similar and different as all animals.  The colonist culture works tirelessly to disconnect itself from Nature in all sorts of ways, creating infinite problems and a collective state of dysphoria.  Creating and building upon complicated ivory tower theories (circles and circles of nothingness)  is part of the colonist process.  The more we DEcolonize and the closer we get back to Nature, the simpler and healthier ALL life will be.  As Native rights activist Klee Benally says, Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.

I would also like to share this very thoughtful article about gender abolition and the following excerpts which I particularly appreciated:

…applying our own concepts of gender and sexuality constructed within white [or any other] supremacist cultures to people outside of our epistemological framework is redefining them on our own terms for our own benefit.

…how can we expect people for whom their gender interacts so closely with their race, their religion, their cultural background, to divorce or even to recognise the bits and pieces of gender that are independent of their culture to destroy?  Or, if gender is an epistemology, is race and other intersectional factors part and parcel of gender in such a way that one cannot simply abolish it alone?  And if we attempt to do that, it leads to the next big problem I have: that the abolition of gender may be, especially stemming from a white feminist bases, a colonising force.

The problem with abolishing gender is not only do we [the self-appointed All-Knowers who carry the burden of educating the supposed ignorants] have to define it, apply our definition towards other cultures, demand they remove gender from their own race, cultural, spiritual or whatever background, but also assume that the abolition of the concept of gender will result in equality or a lack of discrimination.  In doing so, from a white perspective, we effectively create a colonising project wherein we’re intervening in their own identities, behaviours, and practices in an attempt to make their lives better.

/ End of post for now.  I may add to it later, or not.  The trans* issue is quite a cluster fuck within and outside of feminism, and the only way to clearly, coherently and compassionately address AND understand AND make peace within and outside of it, is from DEcolonist, Indigenous perspectives, which is where my interest and energy most gravitates towards — about sex, gender, and pretty much everything else Life-related, since the colonist culture has gone and fucked up so much of Being Human and Life in general.  Liberation = DEcolonization + (Re)Connection with our Indigenous roots — entailing more work and harder work for those of us more colonized and displaced from our tribal roots, but exists within us, on a spiritual and genetic level that colonist science cannot begin to understand or explain.

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3 thoughts on “Decolonizing Sex & Gender: The Pronoun Issue

  1. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post
    was good. I do not know who you are but certainly
    you arre going to a famous blogger iff you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  2. Feminist Rag says:

    Aw, thank you! I’m glad you found your way here & liked my post, thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. Be well. 🙂

  3. […] Preferred pronouns, whether they’re ‘proper’ or not, is a cluster fuck of an issue unto itself because the colonist culture and English language is so restrictive and limited, so I won’t say much about it here other than to say that it’s asking a lot for people to use “proper” pronouns. I wrote a separate post about this issue here. […]

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