English is bad, and pronouns are wildly complicated. The most common are he/him, she/her, and they/them. But people can choose any pronoun that they prefer, and there are many options to choose from. And to make things even more complicated, you can identify with more than one pronoun at the same time.
I know this because I’m one of those people.
In mid-August 2019, I quietly changed my pronouns in my profiles & bios to “he/they,” meaning that I’m cool with either he/him or they/them when you refer to me. I have a lot of reasons for this, most of which I prefer to keep private right now.
I have no idea what I’m becoming, and I don’t currently have very many people in my life who can help me understand it. So, I obviously started poking around to see what resources existed for people who identify in this way. And there is extremely little for people who were born as dudes, from mental health resources all the way down to the coin of our post-apocalyptic millennial realm: tiny enamel pins.
The latter rankled me in the sort of way that I will absolutely ragestroke about at dinner with you. And that’s the exact situation that my friend Cristina Vanko found herself in, back in November, with me variously:
- gently explaining the whole process by which I came to some very personal realizations;
- trying to unpack pronouns as a concept, with all of its attendant fractal complications;
- wondering whether I should wear two pins at once, like some sort of whimsical gender Pokémon trainer;
- gobsmackedly wondering why enamel pins became such a thing in the first place;
- angrily bloviating about the lack of structural support to unwind toxic masculinity in literally all of western civilization;
- contemplating whether people saw any broader problem with the internet’s vast selection of she/they stuff, but only two examples that I could find of he/they or they/he;
- wondering whether I should do anything about my public identity at all;
- etc etc etc.
Cristina is a very patient person. Cristina is also an astoundingly talented letterer. And because she is also also an incredibly kind human whom I love dearly, she offered to collaborate with me on some pronoun pins. I said yes, and a few months later, it actually happened.
Find your people & help a good cause
We did he/they, she/they, and they/them for now. Once we sell out, we’ll do a couple more pronouns with our proceeds. And when we sell out of those, then… you get the idea.
So. These exist. They are in my house. You can buy them right now. They look amazing in person. They’re about 1.5” wide. There are only 100 of each. And once they’re gone they’re gone. I’m donating 20% of my own proceeds to Brave Space Alliance, so that others can get the resources that they need to thrive.
Maybe you’ll look at this and think it’s not for you, or it’s a baffling distraction from the rest of what we do here at Draft, or we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and who needs signifiers right now. But there’s also a chance that you’ll read this and see some part of yourself in it. Or you might know someone for whom this would be a nice thing. The hope is that these foster some amount of human connection, during a time when we all desperately need it.
Even if you don’t buy a pin, for yourself or someone else, know that you aren’t alone in the world. There are humans out there who love & support you. And that’s always more important than any small thing you can buy on the internet.
Thanks for reading, and be well.
PS: I think people give first billing to the pronoun that they prefer, as I’ve seen they/he and they/she in addition to he/they and she/they. If I’m misreading this, please let me know! I’m always learning.