Gender neutral family member advice please.

Discussion in 'The Green Room' started by Forbin, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Forbin

    Forbin Do you feel fluffy, punk?

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    My niece, Grace - my wife's sister's daughter - informed us she was gay in her early 20s a few years ago.
    Cool, fine, we love you, Grace (and her hot Indian partner!).
    Now a few years later, she tells us she feels more like she wants to be gender-neutral, and now prefers us to use the third-person pronoun "them, they, etc." They've changed their name to the more neutral "Grayson."
    All this is fine with my wife and I, and we're full of support for Grayson.

    Anyway, our confusion comes in what to call Grayson in terms of familial relation. "Niece" is no longer appropriate. Their parents can get away with "offspring" or "Child." No idea what their brother will refer to them as. "My sister-in-law's gender-fluid offspring" is a bit of a mouthful.

    @Nova ? Anyone?
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  2. K.

    K. Sober

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    If she's still with the Indian partner, you could call Grayson your cousin, which still has that flexibility in Indian English, though it lost it a while back (as a primary meaning for individual relatives) in BE and AE.
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  3. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    I know this! Happened stumble across this word a few days ago and not only was I surprised to learn that there was such a term, but that it's old. The word you're looking for is "nibling."
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  4. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Fonfon Ru.
  5. Forbin

    Forbin Do you feel fluffy, punk?

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    That's even a cool-sounding word! Thanks!
  6. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    I wonder how it is that some of our words for relatives (aunt/uncle, niece/nephew) are exclusively gendered, some (mother/father/parent, sister/brother/sibling) have gendered and neutral forms, and some (cousin) have no gendered forms at all. Evolving from different root languages, maybe? Except that the French (mon cousin/ma cousine) is gendered ...
  7. Forbin

    Forbin Do you feel fluffy, punk?

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    Well, every noun is gendered in French, which, I guess, nobody thought would be a problem a thousand or so years ago.
  8. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    "Grayson" sounds like the name of a butler. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
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  9. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    An anecdote from personal experience.

    When I spent that week with my son in the hospital, I was read by all personnel as his mother - my wife is deeply offended by the idea that I'm seeking to or willing to usurp her title so I'm conditioned to avoid letting that pass from my lips (although I find it perfectly fine to allow others to assume it) so when a Doc or someone would meet me they might say "are you the mom?" and I'd say "Yes he's my son" or someone might ask my relationship to the patient and rather than saying "I'm his mom" I'd say "he's my son"

    Point being, reverse the direction of the comment. Rather than saying of Grayson "They're my niece" say "I'm their uncle"
    This won't get you out of EVERY jam but it will fit most conversations.

    Also, maybe check with them - possibly they've encountered this question before.
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  10. Forbin

    Forbin Do you feel fluffy, punk?

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    Thank you, Tammy, that can work too. :)
    Grayson's also new at this. It's a recent evolution in the last few years, and we haven't been to visit since they started on this road.
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  11. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne The Gay Collective(tm) Formerly Important

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    Came to say what Nova said about asking them what they prefer. When in doubt, ask. People can tell the difference between an uninformed person who is trying and a jerk that isn't.

    :mrsa:
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  12. Forbin

    Forbin Do you feel fluffy, punk?

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    If we ever manage to get down there again, I figure I'll start with a cheerful "Hi, Nibling" (GREAT word!) and give them a huge hug, and go from there. I really love that kid, so, whatever they want.
    (Damn, tho, third person pronouns sound so impersonal. Oh well, I'll get used to it.)
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  13. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    There's a truism among trans activists (used as a term for vocal, more public, trans folks) that Trans people are not obliged to be your teacher.

    One is not entitled to say, however gently, "explain it to me" because not all of us want to engage in an open discussion of what can be a very personal, even frightening, thing.
    I do not dispute that principle BUT as one who relishes the opportunity to spread understanding I'm always looking for an open door to educate however I had to teach myself the difference between a hostile challenge from someone who really has no intention of changing their view and someone who is genuinely curious and well intentioned and WANTS to get it right.

    That instinct seldom fails me now. I have a very open heart to those who want to get it right even when they fumble it, and exactly ZERO tolerance for assholes who are doing this "You can't make me respect you" shit (Hiya Paladin)
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  14. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne The Gay Collective(tm) Formerly Important

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    Oh, I should've made it clear that I meant asking about which pronouns/words to use (which I thought was considered kosher to do...? :unsure: Or maybe that's a Tumblr only thing?)

    But yeah, you're right, it's not any marginalized person's job to teach others how to treat them as people.
  15. The Esquire of Gothos

    The Esquire of Gothos The Squire of Gotham

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    @Forbin , how about just calling her, refer(ring) to her as:

    Your wife's sister's daughter.
  16. Forbin

    Forbin Do you feel fluffy, punk?

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    Pay attention, son.
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  17. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    Grayson.

    Nightwing-DC-Movie.jpg
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  18. The Esquire of Gothos

    The Esquire of Gothos The Squire of Gotham

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    OK, but I'm out of ideas on just WHAT you should call her.
  19. Forbin

    Forbin Do you feel fluffy, punk?

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    I think we had it worked out before you showed up and set society back a couple of years. :lol:
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  20. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    Oh you were right, I was just expanding on the thought.

    Yes, when in doubt, ask what's preferred and roll with that.
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