Seems like this could be a thread of it’s own, so rather than hijack, I started one.
Yeah, I wish there were a third party. It is a situation where the person comes alone, and I could see other people avoiding conversation because they didn’t know either. I just dove in and figured I’d work it out as we spoke, but that didn’t happen.
You can dress it up in polite language, but asking ultimately boils down to “soooo…I’ve been wondering, do you have a penis?”
You are right though, you probably don’t hit such a gender neutral target in terms of dress, grooming, and overall appearance without aiming for it. They really should be expecting the question to come up.
So when my all-male high school put on Romeo & Juliet and they decided to go for authenticity rather than find girls to play the female characters, you’d have referred to Juliet as “he” just because someone with a dick is portraying her? Totally logical…
Yeah, that’s weird. I’ve played “pants parts” in community theater Shakespeare productions, false beards and all, and I sure as hell wouldn’t appreciate the audience calling the character I’m playing “she”.
If I’m going to stick a beard on my chin and strap up my chest and otherwise work my butt off to present my character as male, I want him to be regarded as male in the context of the play. And it makes sense to me that drag queens feel the same about having their slinky sequined dolled-up alter egos regarded as female.
Then you still call someone by the name or pronoun that they wish to be called. It’s simple courtesy. Seriously - why intentionally aggravate someone over something that matters not a whit to you, but clearly does to them? What could you possibly gain by being a jackass to them?
Really? You can thing of any occasion when calling a person “it” isn’t an insult?
“The graduate will walk down the aisle, enter the stage from the left, and then after it accepts its diploma, it will shake hands with the principal.”
Nope, even in a truly gender neutral, non-insulting use, “it” isn’t going to fly.
Well, I think the sword and jerkin would still tip people off that I’m playing a character, so that wouldn’t be me presenting myself as a man.
I really don’t think this issue is all that complicated. If you know that somebody self-identifies and socially presents as a particular gender, then as Munch says, you use the gender referents that they prefer. If you’re not quite sure which they prefer, it’s okay to politely ask.
Why should your personal opinion about what gender they ought to identify as enter into the matter at all? It’s their choice, not yours.
Polite people would no more argue with somebody’s gender identification than they would criticize their chosen name or nickname as inappropriate. And what a lovely conversation-starter that would be, wouldn’t it!
“But Angus is a Scottish name and you look totally Hispanic! You should call yourself Manuel or something.”
“Max is a pretty silly nickname for a little guy like you, and I don’t see why I should play into your delusion. I’m just going to call you Michael.”
“No, you’ve got it wrong. If your husband’s name is Higgins then you must be Mrs. Higgins. If you like to pretend you’re still a single girl then fine by me, but I ain’t playin’.”
Char-ming. But no worse than telling somebody that they’re using the “wrong” gender.
RuPaul is a bit of an exception. RuPaul is RuPaul, in drag or not. That’s his real name. And he’s also unusually famous. I generally say “he” for RuPaul, because I’m generally referring to the person, not necessarily his drag persona. Although it’s a bit hard to completely separate the two.
Some of the posters clearly are, yes. There are many people who confuse gay, trans, Drag Queen, someone in drag for one day, droopy-handed (sorry, can’t remember the English term), high-voiced… it’s as if they dump it all into a single mental bin labeled “unacceptable” (or less polite things, the label says a lot about the labeler).
There are many other theater characters which are usually played by someone of the opposite gender: when it’s a sung part, the “usually” may become an “always” (Prince Orlofski as a deep bass? Uh, no).