My Preferred Pronouns?

Justin E. H. Smith in his blog:

I was at an academic conference last week, somewhere in America, where we were invited by our hosts to place a ‘preferred pronoun’ sticker on our nametags. “If you could pick one of those up during the next break, we’d appreciate it.” The options were, ‘He’, ‘She’, ‘They’, ‘Ask Me’, and one with a blank space for a write-in. Coming from my adoptive France, I had heard of this new practice in my country of origin, but somehow I had convinced myself that it was mostly mythical. Yet there were the stickers, and there were all my fellow participants, wearing them with straight faces.

I did not pick one up. As is my practice at these events, I do not even wear the nametag that has been provided for me, so there would have been nothing to put the sticker on. But if there had been any direct and explicit pressure on me to wear one, rather than just a general announcement, I would have been constrained to explicitly refuse to do what was being asked of me. I would have been a conscientious objector.

In the future I will avoid meetings at which I know in advance, or I have a reasonable expectation, that there will be such stickers. I am strongly opposed to this convention, I think it is ridiculous and offensive, and I am only thankful that, for now, it is only a convention and not a compulsion. But the line is not so clear. It is not a compulsion for me to wear a sticker, because I am privileged and basically indifferent as to whether I ever get invited to an academic event again. The quality of my life is enhanced by not going to academic events, and reduced by going to them. If I can’t go because social pressure would require me to wear a sticker, well, tant mieux. But this is not the case for younger scholars who are precariously employed. It is in part for their sake that I feel the need to make explicit my opposition to this practice.

More here.