“My pronouns are sheehurr… so yours would be?”

A few years back, we got in BIG trouble for parodying the boss’s decree that our very first question to clients should be about their gender identity. Our point, complicated as it may seem, was that such personal questions are NOYB unless the client wants to bring it up.

Nevertheless, we were investigated and sharply interrogated about our views on transgenders and cisgenders. “Cis,” in case you missed the compulsory training, means on this side, as opposed to “trans,” meaning on that side. We’d never heard it used before except in geography, as in Trans-Alpine and Cis-Alpine. But hey, English is an ever-growing language. If transportation means being taken somewhere, why not call it cisportation when Uber doesn’t show up?

We thought all this was a passing fad. But that’s what we thought about cutting holes in your jeans, and here we are, still looking at hairy knees on the subway.

And now, life overtakes parody. In “Three Little Pronouns Go to Court,” lawyer-blogger Yassine Meskhout, waiting for his client to be brought for an arraignment interview, couldn’t help hearing the interviewer in the booth next door. Having duly kicked off the interview with gender identity questions, she was desperately trying to explain to the client what a pronoun is:

“No, no, I don’t mean your name. I mean your pronoun.”

“No, I already know your name. I’m asking about your pronouns.”

“So for example, my pronouns are sheehurr, so yours would be. . . ?”

Sadly, Attorney Meskhout didn’t get to hear how it came out because his own client arrived. No doubt Meskhout passed the time with his client chitchatting about fiddle-faddle such as what he was charged with, what the offer was, whether he should take a plea, whether he had a place to go if he were released. . . and never asked for his pronouns. Tut, tut, how very delinquent.

Moral: Never go to court without your Strunk & White.

About Appellate Squawk

A satirical blog for criminal defense lawyers and their friends who won't give up without a squawk.
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3 Responses to “My pronouns are sheehurr… so yours would be?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Your points are well taken, but we now live in permanent silos of our own choosing, or by birth. Some call them bubbles. I and most of our colleagues and friends live in the bubble that is made up of folks with graduate degrees who live on the coasts or other urban areas. We vote Dem, or for Lefty parties, and see the world through a lens that respects experts, academia, rationality, yada yada. We read and follow the respectable news (aka journalism), and play Wordle regularly! In a now faster changing world, our bubble keeps up with each change in language that is demanded by particular groups who live in our bubble.

    Those outside the bubble, such as most of our clients and less educated folks, have no frickin idea what we are talking about. In some instances they resent us for suggesting such rapid change in their own customs and understanding of the world. The rural/urban divide and internet silos both reflect and accelerate this polarization. My favorite recent example is the insistence by our bubble on the term Latinx. I am not Latin and have very little experience in this community. If I am told that Latinx is preferred now, who am I to judge? But then we learn that actual Hispanic folks by and large hate the term, and never asked for it in the first place. Perhaps it was concocted by a few Latin academics who spread the term in social media? But it caught on and made sense in our bubble that perhaps Hispanics, whose native language, like all Romance languages, genderizes all nouns, no longer appreciated male genderizing of their ethnic group.

    The pronoun thing has caught on within our bubble, particularly for those younger than us. My sense is that language is permanently changing in this regard, but who knows? I don’t think it is a bad thing, but as policed it is sometimes awkward and off-putting. I once heard (way b4 this authoritarian era) that the difference between a progressive and a conservative is the rate of change one could tolerate. Much of what comes from the Left eventually sticks and becomes the norm acceptable to 90% of the population. But the rate of change and the method of promoting positive changes can rankle, and can be perceived as being quite intolerant. This intolerance and “better than thou” attitude does not serve progressives well. We are in the midst of a huge backlash now that I fear is going to devastate us, and place democrcay itself in peril. “Defund the Police,” the “abolition movement,” and other such slogans are way beyond what a gross majority of folks can tolerate. I grew up in a rural town within the Northeast with low education. So I know a bit about people outside our bubble. I intuitively bristle when I experience our bubble insisting on behaviors and attitudes that will end up hurting our cause.

    Democracy and the planet are imploding before our eyes and one bubble is talking about pronouns while the other doesn’t notice that democracy and the planet are imploding in front of us…



    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments. A pox on all bubbles and silos.


    • cowgrrrl says:

      My friends’ NYS DOH consent form for covid screening their kids had the following NINE options for “Current Gender ID” : girl; transgender girl; boy; transgender boy; non-binary person; gender non-conforming; not sure/questioning; choose not to respond; and gender not listed (write-in). Seperatly was a box for “sex assigned at birth,” the options being: male; female; intersex; and choose not to respond. This is why Trump will win in 2024.


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