Penny Arcade / PAX gender controversy catch all.

Nevin73 wrote:

So what prefix do would you use with a gender queer individual? Mr.? Ms.?

Ask, then use whatever they tell you.

I get life is complicated and the Kinsey scale, asexuals, and everything else in the sexual spectrum. Not identifying with a gender? Does not compute for me at all. And while I am respectful to people, I can't see myself ever using "ou". I think I'd just refer to the person by name.

The name thing could work if you don't spend a lot of time around them, but it'd get pretty awkward if you talked with/about them a lot. If you can't bring yourself to use "ou" even if they've asked you, at least don't use gendered pronouns like he/she/him/her. Hypatian's already given excellent advice for hypothetical situations so I'll just requote her:

Hypatian wrote:

The key thing is: This may or may not be a big deal for an individual person. But it's almost certainly a much bigger deal than anyone who's not trans can imagine. Just... be respectful of what people ask you to do, even if you refuse... and don't get pissy when they and their friends decide you're not worth their time.

I generally only use salutations as a basis of age discrimination when writing clients or to please a boss. Older people, born in the 60's and before seem to really want a full salutation in a letter. The lady managing the Veterans Clinic I volunteered at was big on salutations. When I was in college we were taught that full name is most often the preference.

Most of my writing is in a memorandum format, so there is no salutation (in Michigan or federally at least). If something less than formal is going to counsel or a judge, or an elected official, they have another title-Judge Mester, Attorney Smith, Senator Levin, Representative Levin.

Nevin73 wrote:

So what prefix do would you use with a gender queer individual? Mr.? Ms.?

Can open. Worms everywhere.

Nevin73 wrote:

I get life is complicated and the Kinsey scale, asexuals, and everything else in the sexual spectrum. Not identifying with a gender? Does not compute for me at all.

Why are you happy that sexuality is a spectrum but you can't apply the same notion, by analogy, to gender? Some people are born feeling that they are the wrong gender, we typically only discuss this in terms of transexuals (those who desire to transition to the other gender) but there's really no reason that people who feel that they are in the incorrectly gendered body must also feel that the other gendered body is correct. Then there are those who are born physically intersexed or those who choose to self castrate. So there's 3 potential categories where a strict Male/Female dichotomy may not work and almost certainly there are people who might fit those descriptions.

Of course if a non-binary gender system simply does not compute for you then that is mostly by-the-by as you're just being asked to display a little empathy for others' lives not live that life yourself

Thinking out loud. Asking questions.

Hypatian wrote:

Human beings are neat. No two alike.

Oh wow. I typically avoid P&C but the last seven days of this thread made my irregular, tentative trip into scary territory very much worth it. Then this post doubled the quality.

Can open. Worms everywhere.

And this -- yeah. This is familiar territory.

As I'm trying to figure things out personally, genderqueer keeps coming up. It came up in irc. It comes up in various web searches. A book called Whatever.odt caught my attention, with a handful of details ringing true. In many way's it's also a human memoir, with gender issues weaving back and forth. Then again, maybe that's the correct tone. (I also paid the dollar to buy it at the Kindle store, just to thank the author with a few anonymous pennies.)

I blacklisted all things Gawker from my browser (and recommend everyone else does too), but researched the Gawker pronoun issue. That led to another possibly NSFW post written by s.e. smith: http://www.xojane.com/issues/okay-yo...

But most of the time, it really is an honest mistake. And, to be frank, I’m not really upset by honest mistakes. We all make them, and when it comes to gender, we are living in a rapidly-evolving society where all of us are treading on really new ground.
I’m laughing too **** hard right now to puff up and get all angry for you like a little penguin defending its nest.

I replaced that last vulgarity with asterisks, just to keep this work safe.

In both the ebook and the article, there was this tremendous sense of acceptance and even humor when faced with conflicting pronouns. It's also just that as much as some other things felt familiar, this felt extremely familiar.

Anyway, the question: Do you have any suggestions for further research?

Some people here are trying to understand. I am too, but I'm also finding a lot of familiar themes when this idea is present.

Um. Hmm. Maybe The Gender Book? Cute, in progress, has some cool stuff in it. I guess that's not really a "research" thing so much, but still.

For more scholarly stuff: I'm looking forward to Transgender Studies Quarterly.

One of the hardest things with any taxonomy, of course, is that things are never black and white. Like I said: no two alike. There are common ways we experience gender, but there are always finer and finer details such that if you try to draw a box around something and label it, well, stuff will never match up. So when you look at categorizing peoples' experiences, or your own experience, always remember that even if categories give you rules of thumb about what to expect, it's probably more complicated than that.

Usually, the rules of thumb do a pretty good job--but always be willing to step back from them when it becomes apparent that something might be different.

Oh, one final note on s.e. smith's reaction piece: I don't know where this is true for ou, but I think that it's important to remember that when people who... um... "have a complicated relationship with gender" (:D) are working out where they need to be, and how to do it, and trying to get to that place... well, they can be a lot more fragile than they are once they get to where they want to be and feel settled. It's a rough time--you're afraid of losing people out of your life. You're afraid about the future, whether the world is going to accept you. You're afraid that you're going to get where you think you want to be and discover that it's not right either. It's very very messy. Very very scary. As time passes, it gets easier, though... and I think that can make things that ought to be fairly minor (pronoun mishaps) easier to handle. When you're tender, even a little jab can hurt a lot.

It would not be safe at all to assume that's correct for any given person, I just wanted to put it out there to make sure people understand that it's probably not a good idea to generalize from smith's attitude to expectations of all trans* people. I suspect most trans* people would love to get to that place... but it's not just a matter of snapping your fingers.

Thank you Hypatian.

I also absolutely understand what you're saying about people being in different states of acceptance. I agree wholeheartedly. In these two cases, the nature of their humor and what triggered it was the feeling of comfort. But, it's important to say that there is a consensus of perhaps three people out of many, many people who are in different parts of their own life.

Also, to reinforce the message that "not everyone is that comfortable," even s.e. smith said this much:

A couple of years ago, this whole thing probably would have left me curled in a fetal position under the covers

Also, again, big thanks to everyone in this thread over the last week. And thank you again Hypatian. I signed up for the Gender Book's list, plus followed two of their social media accounts.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Also, s.e. smith is so amazingly contrarian in ou's articles for that site, I wouldn't be surprised if that reaction wasn't a product of "oh, everyone is waiting for me to 'puff up and get all angry for you like a little penguin defending its nest'? well then I'm going to do exactly what people don't expect."

s.e. smith is a lot of fun to read once you're in on the fact that ou is just so damn ornery.

OUS, GODDAMMIT! We can be forward-thinking and progressive without destroying the language! I have killed men for less!

/me hyperventilates

I'm going to go cry into my well-worn copy of The Elephants of Style, now.

MrAndrewJ wrote:

Also, to reinforce the message that "not everyone is that comfortable," even s.e. smith said this much:

A couple of years ago, this whole thing probably would have left me curled in a fetal position under the covers

Also, s.e. smith is so amazingly contrarian in ous articles for that site, I wouldn't be surprised if that reaction wasn't a product of "oh, everyone is waiting for me to 'puff up and get all angry for you like a little penguin defending its nest'? well then I'm going to do exactly what people don't expect."

s.e. smith is a lot of fun to read once your in on the fact that ou is just so damn ornery.

edit: fixed for grammar!

Mixolyde wrote:

I'm going to go cry into my well-worn copy of The Elephants of Style, now.

I'm going to remember that.

I have bookmarked the site at home. There is no saying i will always agree with self proclaimed "agitators", but that depends the context.

I think maybe some of these excellent posts should be cross posted to a thread where people are more likely to be able to locate them (on topic).
I don't want to shut down the discussion but I don't want anyone to miss out either.

muttonchop wrote:

My understanding is that "ou" is supposed to be a gender-neutral personal pronoun, so you can say things like "Dave dropped ous hat", where "ous" would replace "his" if Dave didn't identify as either male or female. "Dave dropped one's hat" is weird and ambiguous. "One" is useful for statements like "one should always brush one's teeth before bed" where you're not referring to any specific person.

I think more people would be offended by someone asking them what gender they identify as than a simple correction by someone who prefers ou.

It seems to me that to get something like ou into a language with strong gender pronouns where the vast majority of people identify strongly with a gender as the default is adding an awkward hurdle to casual conversation.

I challenge any of my straight male counterparts to go to the local club and ask women what gender they identify as before starting a conversation and see how that works out for them.

bandit0013 wrote:

I challenge any of my straight male counterparts to go to the local club and ask women what gender they identify as before starting a conversation and see how that works out for them.

People would use some social intelligence and adjust their behaviour given context like everyone already does. Your local downtown club probably doesn't attract a large number of queer identified people so you're probably safe not asking everyone to name check their prefered pro-noun. Go to the local LGBTQ club then you might want to ask there.

DanB wrote:
bandit0013 wrote:

I challenge any of my straight male counterparts to go to the local club and ask women what gender they identify as before starting a conversation and see how that works out for them.

People would use some social intelligence and adjust their behaviour given context like everyone already does. Your local downtown club probably doesn't attract a large number of queer identified people so you're probably safe not asking everyone to name check their prefered pro-noun. Go to the local LGBTQ club then you might want to ask there.

Except that there aren't any "LGBTQ" clubs. The LGBTQ community is fractured and not at all united. There are gay bars, lesbian bars, both of whom tend to ignore bisexuals, and then the trans community seems to be split into whatever gender/sexuality combination they identify as and hang with that crew.

Nevin73 wrote:
DanB wrote:
bandit0013 wrote:

I challenge any of my straight male counterparts to go to the local club and ask women what gender they identify as before starting a conversation and see how that works out for them.

People would use some social intelligence and adjust their behaviour given context like everyone already does. Your local downtown club probably doesn't attract a large number of queer identified people so you're probably safe not asking everyone to name check their prefered pro-noun. Go to the local LGBTQ club then you might want to ask there.

Except that there aren't any "LGBTQ" clubs. The LGBTQ community is fractured and not at all united. There are gay bars, lesbian bars, both of whom tend to ignore bisexuals, and then the trans community seems to be split into whatever gender/sexuality combination they identify as and hang with that crew.

Well I can think of a couple in London but really I wasn't suggesting that the clubs wouldn't be factured up like that. Again use your social intelligence; do you need to ask the guys at a gay night what pronoun they prefer; probably not. Going to a Queer S&M club then you might want to ask.

Nevin73 wrote:
DanB wrote:
bandit0013 wrote:

I challenge any of my straight male counterparts to go to the local club and ask women what gender they identify as before starting a conversation and see how that works out for them.

People would use some social intelligence and adjust their behaviour given context like everyone already does. Your local downtown club probably doesn't attract a large number of queer identified people so you're probably safe not asking everyone to name check their prefered pro-noun. Go to the local LGBTQ club then you might want to ask there.

Except that there aren't any "LGBTQ" clubs. The LGBTQ community is fractured and not at all united. There are gay bars, lesbian bars, both of whom tend to ignore bisexuals, and then the trans community seems to be split into whatever gender/sexuality combination they identify as and hang with that crew.

From what I've seen in NYC, you're pretty well wrong about this There are lots of gay clubs, lesbian clubs, etc.. but also lots of generally Queer-friendly places that have open atmospheres.

I think the idea is that people will use it when they know it's appropriate, not to make it the default or a social faux-pas to not ask someone which pronoun they prefer immediately after being introduced. I don't think people will get the tar & feathers out if you start with your best guess, but apologize and switch to what they ask you to use if it turns out you were wrong. That said, it's not terribly hard to not use any gendered pronouns when you first meet someone.

Stengah wrote:

I don't think people will get the tar & feathers out if you start with your best guess, but apologize and switch to what they ask you to use if it turns out you were wrong.

I don't know, didn't the whole P&C snafu start for the PA guy because he assumed someone with a vagina was female. Sometimes it seems on the outside like people look for reasons to get offended.

The PA snafu was more that he said some offensive things and then said more offensive things when challenged instead of apologizing.

bandit0013 wrote:
Stengah wrote:

I don't think people will get the tar & feathers out if you start with your best guess, but apologize and switch to what they ask you to use if it turns out you were wrong.

I don't know, didn't the whole P&C snafu start for the PA guy because he assumed someone with a vagina was female. Sometimes it seems on the outside like people look for reasons to get offended.

No, it was because he was an ass when corrected.

To be fair, the manner of his correction was that he was told that he was a bigot and that he ought to die. That rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

LarryC wrote:

To be fair, the manner of his correction was that he was told that he was a bigot and that he ought to die. That rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

People were more understanding the first time he f*cked up. The second time was enough proof for people (myself included) that he is a bigot and not simply uninformed.

RoughneckGeek wrote:
LarryC wrote:

To be fair, the manner of his correction was that he was told that he was a bigot and that he ought to die. That rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

People were more understanding the first time he f*cked up. The second time was enough proof for people (myself included) that he is a bigot and not simply uninformed.

Can this get put in the OP or something so we don't have to keep explaining it?

SixteenBlue wrote:

Can this get put in the OP or something so we don't have to keep explaining it?

Well maybe if the PC brigade hadn't jumped down Gabe's throat just because he made one honest mistake someone WOULD put it in the OP.

The panel that caused all the hub-bub will be happening in a few hours, I believe. I'll be interested to hear how the discussion goes. I'm sure the uproar over the original description will have some impact on what is discussed, and how--and we'll never know what it would have been like without people getting upset. But still, I'm interested.

Hypatian wrote:

The panel that caused all the hub-bub will be happening in a few hours, I believe. I'll be interested to hear how the discussion goes. I'm sure the uproar over the original description will have some impact on what is discussed, and how--and we'll never know what it would have been like without people getting upset. But still, I'm interested.

Yeah, I would assume open discussion will have been chilled and the event sanitized, since all the participants will be very aware of a crowd waiting to jump on anything they find offensive. But maybe not...

Cod wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

The panel that caused all the hub-bub will be happening in a few hours, I believe. I'll be interested to hear how the discussion goes. I'm sure the uproar over the original description will have some impact on what is discussed, and how--and we'll never know what it would have been like without people getting upset. But still, I'm interested.

Yeah, I would assume open discussion will have been chilled and the event sanitized, since all the participants will be very aware of a crowd waiting to jump on anything they find offensive. But maybe not...

I didn't see any mention on any of the gaming blogs I check but I'm also interested to see how that panel turned out.

You can find a rough livetweet on this person's feed - https://twitter.com/merusdraconis (find the beginning by doing a ctrl-f for "welcome")

From @merusdraconis

TL:DR; Why So Serious was actually about games journalism, seemed pretty sensible. Description seemed like it was completely inaccurate

It sounds like the panel description was just incredibly poorly written. I must admit when I first read it I thought it was more of a "how can we prevent silly things like the Mass Effect sex-box reporting" than "what's up with all these sensitive women and minorities, how can we ignore them and reassure our worldview". The former still would have been a bit of an ill-conceived panel in my opinion, but apparently that is nothing like what was intended, unless the hosts changed direction in light of the negative press.

Edit: Alternative livetweet from @pdstafford starting with this tweet https://twitter.com/pdstafford/statu...

Thanks! I look forward to reading through it tomorrow.

Edit: That's just... bizarre. Yeah, neither the original nor the revised panel descriptions appeared to have anything to do with what was actually discussed at the panel.

Hypatian wrote:

Edit: That's just... bizarre. Yeah, neither the original nor the revised panel descriptions appeared to have anything to do with what was actually discussed at the panel.

Demyx told me about this tonight. I'm utterly baffled as to how they mangled the description that poorly unless they swapped out the content due to the controversy.

Glad to hear it wasn't as contentious as anticipated. Makes me feel a little better about the PAX organization, although a statement when the incident occurred would've been nice.

Mermaidpirate wrote:

Edit: Alternative livetweet from @pdstafford starting with this tweet https://twitter.com/pdstafford/statu...

There's also coverage in there I think from the Q&A panel with Mike & Jerry:
(https://twitter.com/pdstafford/statu...)

Okay so I just asked about the speakers and groups that dropped out
OH this question - "Is pax queer friendly?"
Answer: I think so - any gamer should come and feel welcome.
"We need the full spectrum of those experiences."
Next question - does your influence over gamer general mean it's your take that has a large impact?
Answer - not trying to be role models but do realise a certain power.
Okay so back to my question, I asked about the speakers and companies that dropped out.
Answer was that they understand but would hope those voices who see a problem come to the show and voice that.
They hope they come back in the future.

So I think PAX has good intentions (at least on paper), right? I know it's a Q&A session being relayed over Twitter, and I hope this is some indication they're learning from the incidents over the years. Just... I dunno. I feel like the whole "not trying to be role models" is ducking things a little. Like I'm sure they didn't set out 12 years with some sort of roadmap to get where they currently are, but it also doesn't sound like they want to take full ownership of everything their current status entails. Just an observation that I'm filing under "things that make me go 'hmmmmm'".

Of course, there's still the whole dickwovles incident directly opposing the "any gamer should come and feel welcome" notion. Or the lack of an official response over the original description for the aforementioned panel. So good intentions, incompetent/negligent organization at certain levels (including the figureheads who can be best described as "assholes" or worse at times)?