I'm delighted that Dan Savage's excellent column, Savage Love, is now featured in Isthmus. That said, Savage's strongest suit is in the arena of sex and sexuality; when it comes to gender diversity, he's got some learning to do ("Redefining Gender," 12/11/2014). As a transgender person and a trans educator, I'd like to revise Savage's bemused advice that non-trans people "smile, nod, inquire about pronoun preferences, make a mental note not to use pronouns around that person (easier than committing multiple sets to memory), and then change the genderfucking subject."
Yes, do ask our pronoun preferences, and take them seriously as you would with anyone. Then, try listening to us.
We do not get to change the genderfkng subject. People who do not fit or stay in one side of the gender binary are not simply creative iconoclasts putting on style. We daily navigate a social world that tells us we don't make sense, and everyone else acts as the experts on who we are or should be; young gender-nonconforming people are denied education because schools don't provide safe bathrooms and teachers don't respect their gender identities; violence against trans people seems taken for granted, as does the 41% attempted suicide rate.
So please: Don't change the subject when you encounter someone articulating their own unique gender; instead, be brave enough to discover what happens when you suspend judgment and listen.
Finn Enke (via email)
A winning cup
"Crafting the Ideal Cup" (12/11/2014) neglects to mention the Victory, the local treasure of a coffee place on Atwood. The place is a delight, the coffee is outstanding, and, with owner Patrick Downey's deep knowledge of his craft, a trip there is always an education.
Chris A. Vander Ark (via email)