Jan 27 2018

Pronoun Challenge

After teaching a class at DomCon several years ago I was approached by a couple who definitely gave me food for thought about the pronouns I used to teach my pegging classes.  The person who talked with me was dressed in a typical 'male' manner, with dress pants, dress shirt, tie and vest. Their body shape appeared female. Their partner was dressed in a beautiful pink outfit with a tutu and was wearing heels. That person's body and facial hair appeared male.

The person in the suit was kind enough to enlighten me that not all people who engage in pegging follow the typical gender pronouns. He identifies as male and his partner identifies as female. So he is pegging her.  I have thought long and hard about that ever since.

I started offering a gender pronoun disclaimer before all of my classes. Basically I would acknowledge that not all people who identify as male have a prostate and not all people who identify as female lack one, and that there are people who identify as neither, who may or may not have a prostate. Then I would go on to say that while I meant no exclusion or disrespect, I was going to be using the convenient pronouns.

Part of the difficulty I felt was that pegging centers around the prostate, and I was perplexed as to what words to use that would enable the differentiation I needed. Prostate-owner and Non-prostate-owner were simply too tongue twisty and lacked simplicity. Pegger and Peggee weren't right either, somehow.

A memory surfaces....Almost 30 years ago, I took East Coast Swing dance lessons with my first wasband. The teachers, Jonathon and Sylvia, taught using 'Leader' and 'Follower'. Wow, were they ahead of their time. Hat tip to you, Jonathon and Sylvia.

So for a while I've existed in this place of knowing I need to kick out of the gender binary to be a good sex educator and to be respectful of all gender orientations, but unable to find the perfect fix. My disclaimer acknowledged the situation, but was not the best solution. Then one day it popped into my brain.

Giver and Receiver. Simple as that!

I'll be teaching in Denver on February 10th at a place called Blush & Blu, who self-describes as "We are a bar where all humans are welcome. Intolerance will not be allowed." They were previously a lesbian bar, and now aim to be all-inclusive. LGBTQ++. What better place to try out my new pronoun replacements?!  For the first time, I'm going to attempt to teach the entire class using Giver and Receiver. I'm excited, and am going to engage the help of class attendees in helping me if I slip.

What fun we're going to have!

 

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2 comments

  1. Hey Ruby, your story reminds me of my time at college years ago, when I learned that a couple of american researchers in gender studies used the strict terms of male and female only. Like yourself they soon realized that conventional labels of male and female were insufficient to cover the different gradations beyond the male and female pronouns. After much thought they decided on inserter and insertee. 🙂 Needless to say I think your terminology is much better!

    1. Fascinating! The challenges of a society with gender fluidity….

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