Letter: Gender genuflections not required

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Editor of the Reformer:



Here is a letter I wrote — and send — to organizations, companies, and individuals who address one as "Mr." in the absence of information about one's gender. And of course, I send it in the SASE that was intended for my contribution — with or without a donation, as the situation indicates.) I urge anyone — female or male — to copy, modify, and use this missive, or one like it, to help educate and raise the consciousness of those who send letters gratuitously and incorrectly (or even correctly) addressed to "Mr." where gender is not known.

Here it is:

You do not know my gender. You are assuming that if you use "Ms." (and I am male) I would be offended. (Oh?!) So you use "Mr." — but that is a serious insult to me if, I am female, because it says implicitly that "men are better than women!" Sez who? And then you ask me for money?

The 19th Century has been over for some time. At least, we are no longer using "Miss" and "Mrs." to indicate who has property rights to a particular female person. And what if one were gender fluid, as many people are?     It is unnecessary and infuriating constantly to be given the "oops-we-don't-know-so-we'd-better-be-on-the-safe-side-and-not-offend-them-in-case-they-are-men" default label. In this day and age, there is no reason to use any gender label at all.

So, when are people going to wake up and realize that slightly-more-than-half the population are sentient, intelligent, and contributing members of society, who are entitled to equality and respect? It's a new year. Let's make it a time where conventions match the facts.

Oh, and you might take the trouble to spell my name correctly, too. Sheesh. Is this how you fund your good work?

Nye Ffarrabas,

Brattleboro, Jan. 7


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