The War of the Pronouns

Is it a sin to submit to a transgender person’s request to use their pronouns? Like calling a guy “her” and a girl “him”?

I’m not really sure so I just wanted an opinion. on the one hand it seems like, yes, it would be because it might seem like your affirming that lifestyle, which is scandal. But, then again, it’s just as likely that refusing to use their pronouns could galvanize their commitment to their worldview. So I can’t weigh that as an impact

it seems like it’d be more beneficial just to use the pronouns to keep the conversation going. If we alienate people, they won’t be receptive to our message.

Also, I think it keeps us above reproach, you know? Refusing to use them just puts more bullets in their gun it seems. Because they can frame it as not only do we have repulsive view points (from their point of view), but also we’re abusive. If we just use the pronouns they cant make that claim.

thoughts?

The simplest solution is to call them by name.

agreed

Name only gets ridiculous. “Bob gave us Bob’s presentation, which Bob put together Bobself.”

It seems to me that affirming a lifestyle is not the only thing at stake, but truth and the meaning of words.

If a man thinks he is Napoleon and insists on being called by that name, I do him no favor by reinforcing that belief. Then again, one could argue that the man is so far gone that it doesn’t matter whether I call him Napoleon or Bob. But in that case I may as well call him by the name of Bob – unless perhaps it makes him violent or something.

I can understand the argument for yielding to the latest P.C. language in order to keep peace, but how far are we willing to take that? Suppose some woman demands that we call her God, and the state decides that if we call her a woman, it is hate speech. At some point it becomes sacrificing to Baal.

A related problem is to recognize and address Bob’s husband and Jane’s wife.

I like you, am not sure either. But here is where I am at right now. Feel free to comment or disagree, because I too struggle to find that balance between upholding the truth but also doing so without alienating people. Especially knowing all the struggles and challenges people with gender dysphoria experience.

If I run into someone who I am unsure is male or female… obviously I would go with their preferred pronoun. I think that would be the charitable thing to do; to take them as they are in good faith.
For those that I know have transitioned… If you refer to transgender people by their names to avoid the pronouns… do you insist on calling Bob Barbara?
I don’t think it is unreasonable to call them by their preferred new name. After all, if Barbara changes her name to Betty, would I object? What about Blake (a unisex name)?

That said, I try to minimize my use of pronouns in these situations to avoid confusion. But when needed, I tend to go with a person’s preferred pronouns, as long as the request is reasonable- she, he, etc… “God” is not a reasonable pronoun to me; neither are many of the made-up pronouns that are not words in the English language.

I don’t do this because I agree with gender theory, but because insisting on calling someone by another name or referring to them with another pronoun really isn’t an effective way to debate gender theory or bring people to truth; it often comes across as spiteful and really just closes off any possibility for conversation. When it comes up in conversation, I will also explain my views and that my disagreement is not done out of hatred or ideological argument, but concern for a person.

I think it’s most important to not forget that at the end of the day, the focus isn’t merely about proclaiming the truth, it is about proclaiming truth to people in a loving way. People with gender dysphoria are people just like anyone else, who are often really hurting and facing struggles. I remind myself that I’m not just trying to make a point, but doing so for another’s well-being.
It’s not a perfect analogy, but there are many other situations in life where similar reasoning applies. Premarital sex is wrong, but that doesn’t mean I am going to refuse to acknowledge an expecting couple as parents or give them support. To friends with gay parents, I am not going to refuse to refer to both of their parents as dads. To friends with phobias (not saying that having phobias is a sin- I had many, but it is a mental health issue like gender dysphoria), acknowledging their fear isn’t the same as saying it is reasonable.

Response 1: You do him no favor by refusing to call him that if you’re end goal is to bring him to truth. It’s arguable he’ll shut you out, and then you’ll never convince him of anything.

Response 2: Calling a man a woman is a world a way from blasphemy, which is what you’ve described.

Perhaps a Bishop or other prominent church leader has weighed in on this issue. Does anyone know of anything?

Clearly your position is well thought out and comes from a desire to bring people to truth. The problem, however, is that your way of addressing people also strongly signals approval to those who know you and in that way may be guiding people further from truth.

I once had a very in-depth conversation with my sister about SSA in which I strongly argued that other religious people had to accept SSA as the reality of how God made some people or they were necessarily denying God’s existence. When she later left her husband for a woman (she claims not to be or have been a lesbian but rather to have been attracted to the woman as a person) part of her comfort seemed to stem from her belief that I approved…which I did not. I just happen to believe that SSA is the cross given to some to bear like gambling or porn addiction; a physical disability; a difficult parent, child, sibling…&C.

If I had to do it over again with my sister, I would have made very clear why and that I do object to SSM and acting on SSA. That should have been the basis for my comments. Lesson learned. We have to understand that if we believe Church teaching, it is not compassionate to go along to get along. We have a duty to be loving, to judge only actions and to work to save souls but we cannot do that by affirming falsehoods. Nor can we do it by alienating people.

So all of that and my real comment is that I don’t know a good approach to take.

Someone could legally change his name to Napoleon or God. In fact there are thousands of people whose first name is “Jesus”.

As for pronouns, they are no big deal. People use them to refer to inanimate objects and genderless concepts (“The ship sailed on **her **Maiden Voyage”, “Death will have **his **due”, etc). It’s a massive exaggeration to compare the use of preferred pronouns (calling someone what he/she wants to be called, regardless of what the genes say) to Baal Sacrifices (burning children and babies alive in brick ovens because a demon posing as a pagan deity ordered it).

From the recent (Oct 2, 2016) Catholic News Service article, “Gay, transgender people deserve pastoral care, pope says,” if the quotes are accurate, it appears that Pope Francis, in one of his inflight interviews, had no problem referring to a woman who thought she was a man and who had had sex-reassignment surgery as a “man” and using the pronouns “he” and “his.”

I don’t think it is a sin to use the pronouns a person requests nor is it a sin to not use those pronouns. A person who thinks they are a different sex then their biology indicates has a mental condition. It is like they think they are a rabbit or a dog. The person needs help. It may be that helping them in certain contexts means to use the pronoun they request or it may mean using the pronoun proper to their sex. I think this is a prudential judgment.

Unless they have chosen a name to support their percieved gender…we live in interesting times.

Will not call a her a him or a him a her.

I suppose if they get fed up, they could respond by referring to you as ‘it’.

Thou orThee

:slight_smile:

Perhaps that’s the answer

it might just be that it depends on the overall context of the situation/relationship, eg, a person you’ve known for years who’s lost their way is different from a stranger you’ll never see again. Maybe it needs to be judged case by case

I suppose you could make air quotes when using pronouns.:smiley:

1 Like

:smiley:

Seriously, though, unless someone drops trou and shows off “the goods”, I have to take someone’s word what sex or gender they are.

Look what happened when Ernie Terrell insisted on calling Muhammad Ali “Cassius Clay”…:stretcher:

Yes, it is really hard to find a balance. I can definitely see where you are coming from and I appreciate you sharing your experience & learned lesson. But I also think I would approach the situation differently if it was my sister vs. an acquaintance who may not know me well and be more likely to realize that I am not just being a hateful person. I don’t know how to charitable call someone by a name they do not prefer, one that may even deeply upset them, or insist on referring to a transgender man as “he”. I would rather just explain my position, but the opportunity rarely presents itself unless I know the person well.

Where I do draw the line is at pronouns such as ve or ze… For me, this is an even more difficult situation. These pronouns not only affirm that one can transition between genders, but that there is more than just male and female. Yet again, I don’t know how to approach this charitably. Any thoughts on gender neutral pronouns and supporting those who identify as non-binary?

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