- Category: Site News
- Published on Wednesday, 01 February 2012 14:21
- Written by Lara Landis
- Hits: 1075
February 3rd marks Asexual News's one year anniversary. The domain for the site, asexualnews.com went live a few days later. Cakenews.info, the alternate domain for the site, was registered later in February. For those who dabble in Astrology, this means the site is an Aquarius born under a new moon. (The owner of the site has learned that she is an Aquarius born under a Scorpio moon). All of the astrology information is irrelevant. The reader may glean from this long introduction that the site is nearly a year old. It has been a bumpy year for Asexual News. The site news section will look back upon the previous year. The section will cover the history of the site. The staff will take a look at some of the problems the site has faced as well. The first and most serious of these problems is not what most people think it is. Pronouns have caused more headaches for this site than any other single issue.
The problem started when a writer stubbornly clung to rules she was taught. The rules are still set down in the 2009 AP Stylebook. It might not have occurred at all if it were not for a relatively long exchange with CJ Chasin, who works with the Asexuality Studies group. Chasin argued that such usage was sexist. [Note: Chasin actually described this usage as misogynistic]. No one told Chasin that this was the least important gender equality issue to pursue, but the person who received Chasin's e-mails was sorely tempted to do so. Even though the debate eventually died down, pronoun problems continued to creep up from time to time. The decision was eventually made to use they when gender is either ambiguous, unspecified or unknown.
There is diverse gender expression within the Asexual community. This made for many unique, interesting and sometimes embarrassing problems. Throughout all of this, no one insisted using the awkward gender neutral pronouns, although Asexual News writers should ask people for their preferred pronouns.
The pronoun problem will not go away any time soon. If the author of this piece has learned anything in the past year, it is that the English really does need a good gender inclusive singular pronoun. (Ed note: There already is a gender neutral, singular pronoun: They).
"I reaffirm that any gendered pronoun used to describe me represents a factual error on the part of Asexual News-- one that I hope your will endeavour to correct."
Clearly this article's use of female pronouns for me reveals that despite the "year of pronoun debates" a major point seems have been missed. It is not enough that Asexual News writers to ask for people's preferred pronouns, or to have this information given to them. The pronoun preferences need to be respected.
However, the use of gendered pronouns is not the only factual error in the article. Somehow, I came to be referred to as "Chasin Stone" even though "Stone" is not part of my name and, until now, to my knowledge has never been affiliated with my name.
Please correct the factual errors in the above article, and please stop referring to me using any gendered pronouns.
I have made the needed corrections I thought I had avoided the use of pronouns to refer to you altogether. It was a long day yesterday. I meant to check the name last night, but I got side tracked trying to fix formatting issues with an article about Glee's Michael Jackson tribute episode. If you check the e-mails for the entire exchange, the word misogynistic is used several times.
Thank you for the correction.
I have no issue with anyone sharing that I had referred to Asexual New's former editorial policy as "misogynist " for imposing male pronouns on people of unspecified gender. I shared this sentiment myself rather publicly: http://www.asexuality.org/en/index.php?/topic/62283-default-male-pronouns-at-asexual-news/
Any male-as-default language policy has the effect of marginalising women by erasing many female voices completely and attributing women's contributions to men. I do believe that is an act of hatred against women.
1: You're being referred to as CJ Chasin, the author is referring to herself in the third person with the use of 'she'.
The article did originally refer to me with a gendered pronoun. This has now been changed.
Thank you for the prompt correction.