Pronouns

My name is Samuel A. Rebelsky. Most people call me Sam. I sign things "SamR". I am a middle-aged, cisgender, heterosexual, white-presenting male. I prefer he/him/his pronouns. Or you can do without pronouns altogether and use "Sam/Sam/Sam's".

You can read the MyPronouns.org statement on sharing pronouns for some reasons that I share my pronouns.

For a time, I noted that I "they/them/theirs" pronouns. Why? Because I know and accept that not everyone's gender identity matches the way others interpret their physical presentation. Hence, I believed that non-gendered pronouns, like they/them/theirs, should be the norm. I still do.

However, people I know and respect have suggested to me that (a) I should not coopt the pronouns of those not on the gender binary and (b) many transgender people would much prefer being addressed by their gender and not with the genderless they/them/theirs.

Hence, I have returned to male pronouns. I accept that I have the privilege to do so and that others may not. I did not intend to treat these pronouns as something that I could easily add and remove. Know that the decisions were not easy. I apologize. But it seems better to use that privilege to retreat rather than to continue to cause potential harm.

Know that whatever gender identity you have, I support you.


For those interested in the subject, there's a longer New York Times article by Farhad Manjoo in which Manjoo shares their choice to use they/them/theirs pronouns. I had not read the article when I first made the decision, but Manjoo appears to share a similar (perhaps uninformed) perspective.

There's also a contrary view on Medium. That view helped change my practices.


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Samuel A. Rebelsky
rebelsky@grinnell.edu