This is going to be a different kind of post today, but it’s one I think is greatly important for the book blogging community. I consulted with Chantel before doing this because I know that this is a very sensitive area for me and isn’t for most other people.
So, we’ve had a recent influx of followers who may or may not have checked out our bio. I know I don’t check bios until I need to find something out, such as a name or, in the case of this post, gender.
Most bloggers that we follow here are women. Most of the bookish community that I’ve met are women in general. It’s a predominantly female area. Of course, there are some that aren’t. However, I’m not a woman. I’m a man with a name that’s spelled in a very feminine way.
That leads to people just assuming that I’m a woman and using female pronouns when identifying me in posts.
That’s actually a very sensitive area for me. As I’m a transman — and have written about it a lot on here — being misgendered really does hurt me. It puts me in a bad mood. I pass in person because I sport facial hair now. I can’t pass on the phone or in any video of any kind. And, the internet has always been a safe haven for me, so it makes me regret not having a more masculine looking name or not going by my middle name which is way more masculine.
Now, I’ve corrected some people before so I know that they’re not maliciously doing it or anything of the sort — they’re so apologetic and it makes me feel bad for getting upset And to those who have misgendered me in the past, I’m not mad at you! I’m really not. This is not me being a little asshole and calling you out.
However, as book bloggers that embrace and push for diversity, we should stop automatically assuming genders.
It erases voices that are already erased, such as transmen. Transmen, in general, don’t have large voices in any community whatsoever. (And, if you want to read more about that, you should check out Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison Green. Chantel and I
also did an amazing Q&A review of it.)
And, as a diverse community, it’s harmful to just assume something about another person. I’ve always thought that the book community is amazingly diverse. There are so many different people who identify as queer or aren’t white or anything else. I love talking with these people and seeing their unique perspectives on books.
Yet, there’s the assumption that all bloggers are women or female-identifying.
So, what to do about it?
Read any blogger’s bio before putting anything about them! Or, if you can’t do that bit of digging or their bios don’t have that info, revert to gender neutral pronouns or phrases to refer to that person. [Suggest putting pronouns in bios etc. something good to do as an ally.]
This is my PSA/discussion post about something that has been on my radar for ages, but I’m finally writing about it.
What other solutions could there be to this problem?
What do you think you could do alleviate this?