S… H… E… Three letters.

Sshh… Teeth together, tongue on the roof of the mouth. 

Eee… Teeth slightly apart, middle of the tongue raised and forward.

As per it’s definition in the American Heritage Dictionary, when used as a pronoun, it means the woman, girl, female animal, ship, country, etc., previously named in question. The same source says that when used as a noun, it simply means female or woman. 

I remember other kids when I was growing up who mistook the way to use the word “she”. Sometimes they would grammaticaly err and say “her” instead, as in “her did it”. But what wasn’t lost is that the gender connected to the word wasn’t male. The word wasn’t connected to boys or men. She is a word designated for the part of our society that is feminine by virtue of SOME trait. Whether its a walk, a talk, the dress, the hair, the lines, the curves, the mindset, its feminine. Its an identity. Its an easy word to say and we’ve been saying it our whole lives. Today’s societal norms ensure that we know its not the speaker’s choice who gets to be referred to as “she”, but the “previous named in question” as the dictionary entry states. 

Perhaps I’m saying too much to say this… If you have a hard time with someone else’s gender pronouns, understand that its not your choice. I can’t tell you the number of ignorant people I encounter everyday in prison who struggle with the transwomen population and how they choose to be addressed. 

“She prefers she/her pronouns,” I say. 
“I don’t believe in that because (anything but reality inserted here, but usually a religious stance),” they reply.
“Nobody needs your belief, just the word.”

And in this environment, religious convictions are a failed argument. They weren’t thinking like Christ when they robbed that house, tortured that victim, or murdered that person. And they surely weren’t thinking like Christ when they figured out how to sell dope in a prison or exploit people they felt superior to in the name of their prison gang. They need to save the judgement, because its all bullshit. By the way, Christ didn’t judge either, so get over it. But I’m glad they found some start to being a “better person”.

I heard NFL QB Drew Brees was under scrutiny for his religious convictions. He’s a Christian and supported a “bring your Bible to school” campaign for a group know for its controversial stances in regards to LGBT issues. But he clarified his personal faith in a positive way. He said his faith has two rules, love Christ and love your neighbor. In order to love them, you have to respect them. If that means she wants to be identified as the gender pronoun she prefers, do that. Its who she is, its respectful to acknowledge that and its how people need to be treated, regardless of how they are packaged. She’s a she. She wants to be called that, so do it. Their “homies” want to be called all sorts of dumb nicknames and they willfully oblige. She’s not asking for anything but respectful acknowledgement. Please oblige, because its easy to say it.

And getting back to the dictionary entry for “She”. Remember when it said its a reference to a ship? Ship, as a noun, is a large seagoing vessel. We can call some chunk of steel that has no identity a she, but the transwomen in here can’t get the respect they deserve from staff and inmates alike? Perhaps the hard part isn’t the word, but the head carrying all the fucked up thinking…

by Rory Andes

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