I recently embarrassed myself at the mall, so this question is inspired by real life: When you meet someone and can't tell if that person is female or male, is it rude to ask?
Wait you went to the mall???
When having a discussion with said person, just use gender neutral language. I do the same thing when I have to send an email to someone with a "either" name. Instead of sir or ma'am, I start with "good morning" or something like that. Better safe than sorry.
You're right. Thank you.
This happened to me too! "Pat" I did not ask. I was embarrassed to.
I am sorry that you were discomfited 😳 but I agree with previous responders: she probably gets that a bit and was not offended.
Just asking for a name usually does it, there really aren't that many truly unisex names out there 8)
Otherwise you can always cover with a bit of verbal slight of hand:
"...he and I have just been chatting.."
"Of course! (Look puzzled) isn't that what I said?"
"Silly me - as I was saying ..."
It's possible that they aren't either one. There are another 30 something genders to choose from you know.
No there's not.
I forget exactly what the Facebook count was.
You're either male or female. Doesn't matter what Facebook says, I mean you can change your language preference to pirate if you wish.
musiman28, "male" and "female" aren't genders. Those are sexes. Gender and sex are different.
They are not.
Here's a very succinct, simple article to enlighten you on the distinction: apps.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/
Certainly there are various disputes and things to sort out when recognizing the difference between sex and gender, and also where they can and/or do intertwine. There are countless articles, books, studies, and stories that shed light on this topic.
Hers a simpler solution. If you have an "innie" you're female, an "outie" you're male, end of discussion.
I've been confused for a woman before, I don't care. I'd look for clues as to what their gender is as opposed to outright asking.
it's not rude to ask someone's preferred pronouns.
There's no preferred. You're born that way.
It shouldn't be.. especially not I'd they dress ambiguously
It is rather insensitive though. Don't do it to be a jerk.
Well some men have a ding dong and consider themselves a girl. Go for it and ask them.
Lmao! Yeah that's an awkward situation lol
Number 9 is the way I'll go next time. Thanks for the link.
You could always try the Crocodile Dundee method.
Don't ask. It doesn't matter unless you want a date. Even then it doesn't matter to some.
I think it is insensitive to ask. I read your story down below and understand that you might feel bad. But, keep in mind that this person chooses to look more like a man by the way she dresses and portrays herself. I'm sure this isn't the first time it has been confused with her. You did the best you could do!
I wouldn't ask as I love a good mystery. Today you never know.
Sounds lika she looka lika man!
No harm no foul.
It is rude to ask. Just keep the interaction gender neutral.
Think about the golden rule. I wouldn't want to be asked if I was male or female, that would really screw up my day
I ask their name. Not always foolproof, but usually a good indicator.
Wish I would have thought of that.
Ya it could be Pat.
Or Chris :)
I was thinking of the SNL skit but you probably never watched it. :-)
Unfortunately this is tricky, if they are LGBTQ and that's why you can't identify their gender, then ask, asking questions for clarification is the first step to being supportive of someone's identity. However, if the person you can't identify is NOT LGBTQ, then they will most likely find it rude.
If I'm not sure of their gender, I usually just check for boobs.
I couldn't tell if she had boobs because she was wearing a sweatshirt.
Not a great indicator though...
It's very rude and probably a question that you personally don't really need an answer for. Would you appreciate it if strangers asked what gender you are, your age, or your weight?
Agree and that's why I didn't ask.
I don't think you should be too embarrassed either for using the wrong pronoun. I mean how were you supposed to know? Next time maybe non gender specific pronouns if you aren't sure.
As someone who grew up with that question... Never ask that way. If you truly don't know and need to know, ask what pronouns they use. In that situation, I always say "they." It's not a 50/50 so I never guess. They could identify as agender, genderfluid, etc. and use alternative pronouns. I try to respect that.
Anecdote: I had very thin hair so my aunt (a beautician) always permed it and kept it very short. I wanted long straight hair but wasn't allowed to have that. I wasn't allowed to dress myself either so I always had frilly dresses or leopard print tights or pink overalls. Super feminine. It hurt to be in a dress and appear so masculine that everyone questioned my sex/gender. Santa even insisted I was a boy even after my mom corrected him after he ignored my protests. I was so used to it that I didn't even cry.
Ugh.. I'm sorry you went through that. 😢
I think it's rude to ask, but I also think the gender ambiguous person shouldn't take offense if they're the ones blurring the lines of their own gender.
Wow. Now it's the person your trying to identify's fault? How about leave their identity alone or ask them in a non-insulting manner?
FTB ... you must be of the bubble wrap generation!
Fck, what's a polite way of asking?
There is no polite way of asking.
While you should apologize if corrected, I have to agree with Think here (ick! Lol).
At one of my former waitressing jobs I called a boy a girl pronoun (I forget what it was). His dad corrected me and laughed. I apologized heavily, then turned it into a compliment about his fantastic hair. The kid got it a lot apparently because of his hair (he was about 12 fwiw).
And people have also misgendered all of my kids. It's a matter of correct and move on. People shouldn't really be getting up in arms about it.
Rosebud ... I recommend you seek medical help for that condition. It could be dangerous to your leftist notions.
Rosebud ... are you suggesting that agreeing with me isn't a "condition"? If so, you're definitely over ripe!
We had a similar situation at work this year with a new hire. So, asked them their name...Taylor. Yeah, that didn't help.
If I wasn't sure I just wouldn't ask. :)
When I was talking to her, I thought about it but couldn't do it.
You were at the mall? That is embarrassing!
I've heard Portland is a veritable minefield for this sort of mishap.
Why ask. I nod and keep mobi g along 😉
Look for the Adams apple, if one is evident it's a guy...unless you want to grope them
I had a female friend who had an adams apple, so that's not 100%. Usually, I check to see if the person has boobs.
Was your girl friend named Bruce by any chance?
Now, now. Let's not be Jenner specific..... =P
Lol no. She was a natural female. She was just very butch.
I haven't had it happen so I don't know what I would have done. Look at it this way, she's probably had it happen before so don't stress over it.
When you say ask, do you mean ask what they are biologically or what they "identify as"?
I'm sorry EB, that sounds tough. I just gave my curly haired son a haircut yesterday. If I didn't, we'd be having people comment about our daughter and her pretty curls soon. 😳
Do you have a wiener is offensive.
I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm sure that you feel worse about it than they do. You're a considerate person, so I know it hurts when you inadvertently offend. But it wasn't intentional, and again you're probably thinking about it more than they are today. I try to avoid gendered pronouns when possible but it can be tricky.
I usually go with asking what pronouns they use, or just avoid them depending on the person. I dont think theres a one size fits all answer.
I didn't ask. When my mom approached us, I made reference to "he" and "she" corrected me.
Very embarrassing. I didn't know how to handle it.
I think just apologizing and then dropping it works well, not making it a big deal. Ive asked friends who are trans or androgynous looking about this and that seems to be the consensus.
Anytime :) in my experience they dont think much of it so long as youre polite and kind about it, which it seems you were considering you care about the effect pn them.
I was very polite but it's bothering me a lot. I keep thinking of ways I should have handled it.
Her mannerisms, hair cut, and clothing made me think male. The only thing that made me think possibly female, was her voice.
Come on, EB! You should know these days you need to really examine the chest area. If you need to, get really close to see if there is any bulge.
Who was this person?
I was at the mall, sitting on a bench, waiting for my mom. This person approached asking if I knew where a store was and we started chit chatting. When my mom arrived, I said to the person, "this is my mom" and I said to my mom something like "he and I have been having a nice chat".
That's when she clarified that she was female.
Hahahaha! That's great!
That's a pretty insensitive joke to make at that person's expense, EB.
By the way, when she said she was female, was she referring to her sex, her gender, her spirit animal, her wardrobe, her 5 year plan, how she was born, or how her parents raised her?
EB, how uncomfortable for both of you, but you were not rude . Anyone could have that experience. I will tuck your experience away, and learn from it. If unsure, I will say "we were just talking "
If all of those things made you think she was male she probably is that way for a reason and already knows very well what she looks like. I wouldn't worry about it.
What's more concerning to me is that you're able to strike up a casual conversation with random passersby at the mall. Why would anyone want to do that?!
Gender neutrals could work "the two of us..." or "we were..." or "they and I..." Or something of that sort. Also never feel guilty to ask someone their preferred gender pronoun. No shame in that. But at any rate, you're good!
It was a painful learning experience but it won't happen again.