Our Bedrosian club podcast recently discussed Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. At the beginning of the podcast, I misgender Soloman until about partway through when it finally occurs to me to ask what their preferences are! After
I have two defenses neither of which are any good. About misgendering the protagonist…ahhhhh this character is so wonderful and brave, and I identified with and wanted to be like them so much, that I started imposing my identity on them. It’s one of the most soothing things to me about fiction, being able to find role models that are missing in my life. But it’s also not cool. Trans, nonbinary, and queer folk deserve their own representations without me doing that stuff on podcasts instead of just in my head working through my own issues.
The second defense isn’t much better. I’m pushing 50 now, and it’s hard to break gendered speech habits you’ve had for that long. It’s *annoyingly hard* because it’s not just affecting my ability to re-script hurtful patterns of speech, it makes it hard to acquire new language skills, like Arabic, that I am learning. I’m trying to reprogram my brain to use gender neutrals, and I succeed sometimes, but I am still not doing it right with consistency. I will do better.
Please still do listen to the podcast despite my bad leadership this time out, and please DO get yourself a copy of Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. They are an astounding talent and their work deserves all the attention it can get. Listen to the podcast *after* you read, as in addition to my incompetence, we do tons of spoilers and this isn’t a novel where you want to know any plot twists ahead of time.
All of us regulars at the podcast support gender and race inclusive feminism. We want every single soul safe from violence and oppression and free to be themselves. I regret I didn’t help out as much as I should have this time out.
Best wishes, friends, and keep reading.