When I was a teenager I went to a Summer camp. The first night we had a big get together where everyone could get to know each other really quickly. The staff told us to go find someone in the room who we did not know at all. We would ask them some questions and then introduce that person to the rest of the group. I was too nice sometimes. I saw this person who was sitting all alone. I had never met them, and clearly no one was going that direction, so I did. I shook hands and realized that I couldn’t tell if this was a girl or a boy. No problem…they had to have a name. I asked. The response: some made up name of gender neutral syllables. Oh no. The voice was even kinda ambiguously monotone. I was getting really nervous. I had to present the person to the room, but how do you do that without gender specific pronouns? I pressed in with my awesome problem solving skills. I needed gender specific questions. I tried asking things about hobbies and likes that might help or produce a long winded answer with some clear gender clues. Maybe she liked horses? Maybe he played football? Nope. We had like thirty more seconds, and I could only get one or two word answers. Yes, this person loved their mom. Hmm…this person likes music. Yep. I’m stuck. My last chance was that the staff would reveal it as we walked up with a “these two boys are next.” or “Micah from South Carolina and a new girl from Texas!” No such luck. I stumbled through as quickly as possible trying to be funny to cover it up. “This person’s name is ______. They like music and love their mom!” It worked. I had offended no one. At worst, I sounded like a moron, but moron is better than jerk. I found out a day or two later that she was a girl. We never became friends.
Micah the Admin