non-binary, challenges, personal pronouns, parent support, Rainbow Camp, Francophone pronouns, gay-straight alliance, GSA
Tara: So if you identify or want to express yourself as nonbinary, what are some of the challenges, do you think , um, that come with that?
Dan: Uh, mainly people just not understanding or not knowing or just kind of shoving it aside as like, “That’s something I don’t need to worry about. Like it’s not very common so I’m not going to, you know, take part in it”. It’s like, “I’m here and it’s a thing”. Um--
Tara: Yeah let’s talk about pronouns.
Chantale: Pronouns are difficult.
Dan: Yeah, it’s hard to get used to. Like, I completely understand that for someone that’s never--
Chantale: And it’s hard with somebody like -- Dan is fluid.
Chantale: So, as a parent, I kept asking Dan, “are you sure that you don’t mind that I’m still using she pronouns”.
Chantale: Often. Just, it’s a habit as a parent, right? And it’s like-- you want me to-- I want to be - not I want to be, I am supportive.
Chantale: So if you’re telling me I need to get used to something else.
Chantale: I need to work on this, you know? So like, tell me. But then she would tell me, “ No, I don’t mind. It’s fine”. But, you know, I see her go to actually one of the resources that she got from her GSA from school was letting her know about Rainbow Camp.
Chantale: Which she was able to take part in last summer.
Chantale: Which was amazing for her. And at Rainbow Camp, she got to live and experience using ‘they/them’ pronouns.
Chantale: And she came back -- I still say she. Or they came back and I asked--
Chantale: You now, like, do you want me to - And I think with Dan it’s still a -- Dan is still a realist. She’s a realist. She’s like, “Mom, the world is not aware of they/them pronouns”. And us being francophone too.
Tara: Yes, let's talk about that.
Chantale: There are gender neutral French pronouns but they’re even known -- they’re known even less than they/them which is now starting to be a thing. And still, you have people saying you can’t use they/them; that’s plural. So--
Tara: What are they in French?
Chantale: Ol is the one that I know most. There are others. We got a list, actually.
Chantale: But Ol is the one that--
Tara: How do you spell Ol?
Dan and Chantale: O-L.
Chantale: So for masculine, it would be ‘il’ which is I-L. Or ‘elle’, E-L-L-E. And now they have ol, O-L.
Tara: I learned something. Yeah, amazing.
Chantale: But we still have, like, nobody--the community don’t know about it. Teachers don’t know about this.
Chantale: They don’t want to add a pronoun to their verbs, like you know? So...
Dan: And then it gets even tougher because the whole everything is gendered in French.
Tara: I know. So when you have to write about yourself, what do you do? If you have to do an autobiographical piece.
Dan: Good question. I, I’m still--
Tara: Figuring it out.
Dan: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I feel like I change day to day.
Dan: Sometimes I’ll put--
Chantale: And this is where I’d ask am I being as supportive because she’s have some friends that would use he/him pronouns and Dan was okay with that.
Chantale: And then she/her, Dan was okay with that. They/them? Oh that’s great. She’s very-- And that’s where I find even within the LGBTQ community, even within that community they are telling her, “No you have to choose which one you want”, you know? And [shrugs].
Dan: I’m fine with whatever. I don’t care.