how do I navigate your pronouns?
Currently, I use ey/they pronouns, meaning both ey/em/eir/eirs/emself* or eirself and they/them/their/theirs/themself or theirself should be used to refer to me. If you’re new to multipronoun sets, I recommend practicing as much as you can, even if that’s just talking with a friend. Some multipronoun users have a preference for one of the two or more pronouns they specify. Because I’m genderflux, I find both ey and they to be important ways I reflect my gender linguistically. (Actually, I use a lot more than these, but at this time this is what I’m comfortable using professionally/publicly.) Please use both ey and they regularly when referring to me. Some folks alternate every other pronoun, but if that’s a difficult adjustment, every other sentence also works really well! (I do that in my bio, for the most part.) Either way, please make sure you don’t go more than a paragraph without swapping (or, if you’re really really unsure, please use they/them exclusively).
One small note: if you’re reprinting my bio, please never rewrite it to only use one set of pronouns unless we have been in direct contact and I’ve given you specific instructions to do so. If you’re playing my work and talking about it, our shared audiences should be meeting me as I choose to represent myself, not some watered-down version.
*These are called Elverson pronouns, in case you’d like to do more reading on them.
what if I have to talk about your gender?
Here’s my best advice for almost any situation where you’re talking about a nonbinary gender: if you don’t feel like you can do a good job accurately explaining something, you can always just say nonbinary! It’s a wonderful, intentionally-open-to-interpretation word that gives folks a general sense of direction without requiring too much of you as a third party. If you’d like to be more precise, some other words you can use to describe me, in increasing degree of specificity, are: genderqueer, genderfluid, genderflux, and agenderflux. Genderqueer is also a great general term for my gender, if nonbinary doesn’t feel like the right move for whatever reason.
In the past, I’ve made different calls about what I identified as publicly, but yes, I am a trans composer, and trans is a word you can use to describe me (though I like any of the above far more because they’re all more specific).
Please don’t put me on your all-women-composers concert. If you’d like to include my work in something like this, you’re actually having a gender-marginalized-composers concert, and you should also get rep from trans women, trans men, and more (and different types of) nonbinary people! Femininity is part of my gender expression, and part of my gender is connected to womanhood, but I am not a woman.
I will probably immediately lose track of updating this, but if you want to read my writing on queer topics, here’s some:
- ICD Review part 1, part 2, and part 3, March and April 2021
- Claiming “Woman” and the Nuance of Non-Binary Gender, March 2021
- Please Stop Dirty Deleting, February 2021 (broader but addresses a pronouns update)
- (Dude/Bro) Isn’t Funny: Let’s Talk About Pronouns, January 2021
- I’m Taking My Name Off the Institute for Composer Diversity, September 2020
- JK Rowling, TERFs, Bioessentialism, Sexual Assault, and Trauma Performativity (or, in other words… yikes), June 2020
- On Identity (specifically, mine), May 2020
- Ownvoices versus Intentional Programming: A Primer, March 2020
- Talking About Women Composers Isn’t Enough, February 2020
- Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and the Importance of Teaching Identity, December 2019
“I run the risk not only of dealing with queerphobic hate but also of people who have long looked to me as an advocate and authority on women in music deciding that maybe I don’t count anymore because I’m not a woman all the time. But the thing about intersectionality is that while my experiences as a queer person do play off of and interact with my experiences as a woman (and a demigirl and an agender person), neither cancels the other out. They both matter.”my coming-out post, May 2020