The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

You Shouldn't Have To Call Someone By Their Preferred Gender Pronoun

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Debate Round Forfeited
mackeeper has forfeited round #5.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/3/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,328 times Debate No: 116263
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




Start your argument in the first round.


I will be arguing that you should call people by their preferred gender pronouns.

My reasoning for this is identical for why we use someone's preferred name. If someone says their name is Harry you are on some level socially obliged to refer to them as Harry, you don't have to interrogate them about what their 'real' name is or anything like that, you just call them Harry. All that is at stake here is that you don't make the person feel weird or upset them. If someone wanted to change the name that was given to them at birth, for whatever reason, lets say they are embarrassed by it, lets say they don't feel like it suits them, the social obligation is to use the new name. It seems obvious that if some did change their name, and adopted a new name full-time in every interaction - consistently using their old name would just be rude and pointless.

We can apply the same logic to gender pronouns. If someone wants to be referred to as 'she' you have a social obligation to use 'she', you don't have to find out what sex they have listed on their birth certificate you just use 'she'. To consistently do otherwise is just unnecessarily rude.
Debate Round No. 1


The fact that you can't see the difference between names and gender pronouns is sad. I as a Catholic only address people by he/she etc. I shouldn't have to call someone by something that they aren't (and that I religiously and morally disagree with). When will people learn it's so simple. If you have a penis you're a man, and if you have a vagina you're a woman. It's so simple. Oh, but what about my feelings!!! As my favorite quote (which is so true) goes, "Facts don't give a sh*t about your feelings." Honestly, I don't understand the point anyway. Saying your "preferred gender pronoun" is like me saying I'm an anti-LGBTQ+, anti-abortion,anti-immigration, pro-gun, pro free speech, pro-Trump, conservative, Republican. It's more of a political statement, that can either get you treated extremely well or like sh*t. And when do you use their pronoun when talking to them? You would address them by their name, not a pronoun. If you don't use their pronoun it really doesn't matter as they won't know about it since your talking to another person. Making someone call someone else by their pronoun is also a violation of that person's free speech. I can call them anything I want actually. I can call a black person a n***** and a white person a f*****. This is not so-called hate speech as "hate" speech is protected by the first amendment.


To my eyes, my opponent seems to be making a lot of assertions but not really any arguments. In the absence of any central thesis I can only go through each assertion and make a counter-argument.

But firstly I would like to note that my opponent has completely sidestepped my original argument, saying that: "The fact that you can't see the difference between names and gender pronouns is sad." - they have not provided any counter-arguments, instead just declared the premise to be sad. I will be waiting in the response response to see if my opponent actually attempts to challenge my opening thesis.

assertion 1: "If you have a penis you're a man, and if you have a vagina you're a woman"

My opponent treats this statement as though it is a scientifically verifiable and self-evident "fact", but this is not the case.

(side note)
It always amuses me when people make this kind of argument in the context of a debate, it's like:
"i think dogs are better than cats, debate me!"
"ok sure"
"argument 1: dogs are better than cats... this is not up for debate!"

The only "facts" that we can actually be assured of is that: human beings are born, some have penises, testes, etc. some have vaginas, ovaries, etc. and a small population have something indeterminate or harder to classify. These are the facts, but to understand them, we need a theory. We could categorise these traits into two typological categories: male and female and ignore any outliers. This would be one theory for understanding gender, but is it the best or most accurate one? Well no, because it does not account for large portions of the population who do not fit this model. When presented with conflicting information that contradicts your theory, your theory needs to change. My opponent says they care about facts over feels, but dismisses the existence of trans and non-binary people in order to protect their gut feelings about the gender binary.

assertion 2: using preferred gender pronouns is a political statement and therefore bad

Are we talking about having a preferred gender pronoun or using someone else's preferred gender pronoun? Because, EVERYONE has a preferred gender pronoun it is just that for most people that pronoun aligns with the one they were given at birth.

If we are talking about USING preferred pronouns, then - yes, using someone's preferred gender pronouns is a political act - but so is NOT using them. By misgendering someone you are also clearly making a political statement that you don't recognise and don't respect that persons gender identity. In fact every utterance and every interaction between people is on some level political because it always involves some interplay of power - even if it is very minor. What we should be asking is: are the politics good? not, is it political at all?

assertion 3: "If you don't use their pronoun it really doesn't matter as they won't know about it since your talking to another person."

is this really the argument your going with? ok... this really only requires about a nanosecond of thought - What about sir and ma'am? what about 'hey man?' or 'hey girl?' What about if you are in a conversation with more than 1 person? What if you are talking about someone to a huge room of people? What if you are writing about that person in a newspaper article? what if you thought the person wasn't in the room but they actually were? you haven't really thought this one through have you?

assertion 4: "Making someone call someone else by their pronoun is also a violation of that person's free speech."

Yes, you are correct. No one is making you call people by their preferred gender pronouns, in a free society, you are free to behave like an assh*le if you want. You are free to go up to someone on the street and start calling them racial slurs if you want. But if you do that, the other people are also free to take you to court if they want - and then it is up to the legal system to decide if you are guilty of a hate crime. It's a great system really.

To close I would like to ask you why, on a personal level, do you NOT want to use certain peoples prefrred pronouns? Rather than a negative reason why we SHOULDN'T use preferred pronouns, I'm interested to hear if you have a positive reason for why we SHOULD use non-preferred pronouns.
Debate Round No. 2


A person with a penis is a man. A person with a vagina is a woman. How is that debatable? Sure there are some abnormalities (LGBTG+), how is it not a fact. The reason people are LGBTQ+ is because of their FEELINGS not facts.

I meant choosing a non binary gender pronoun that you clearly aren"t.

Yes I do have to admit my it pronouns don"t matter argument was a bit lackluster.

I don"t believe in so called "hate speech" again, and a real hate crime has violence. I simply said calling someone by a racial slur which is 100% okay.

I"m a Catholic meaning I don"t agree on there sexual choices morally, politically, or religiously. I don"t even like the idea of LGBTQ+ being taken seriously. I just think they"re a few people with an abnormality, like those babies not with six fingers and toes.

My only positive is that it makes them feel accepted.


"A person with a penis is a man. A person with a vagina is a woman. How is that debatable?" - in the way I just outlined? Again, my opponent is making no attempt to engage with my argument.

Some people who have penises are women, some people with vaginas are men, they might be a small minority of the population but that doesn't mean you can wave them away. You can call anything a binary if you also call everything that doesn't fit the binary an "abnormality" - I could say 'everything in the world is either red or blue', and then when you show me something that's green, i could say, 'that's just an abnormality'. To use your six fingers example - because some people are born with 6 fingers it is incorrect to say that 'humans have 5 fingers'.

you don't have to agree with anyone's sexual choices, but you do have to recognise that they exist and respect their basic human rights.
Debate Round No. 3


It is an abnormality, as something went wrong to make them that way. It is not incorrect to say humans have five fingers because I do (and I assume you do too). People with fewer fingers or more don't change the norm, and we don't teach kids that humans have as many fingers as they want. Things in the world that aren't red or blue have a reason to be a different color. It's also not an abnormality as the other things in that species are the same color or share a different color that's about 50%. For humans as a species, anyone who is born LGBTQ+/ with six fingers/ with six toes/ etc. is an abnormality. I don't believe their sexual preference exists. I do however believe in the mental illness they have (via. gender dysphoria).


At this point in the debate it is clear that my opponents argument is unravelling and falling apart.

Firstly I would like to take issue with the assertion that "abnormality" is the result of "something that went wrong" - what in this context do you mean by wrong?

Ginger hair is quite uncommon - i'm sure we can agree on that - but does that mean that "something went wrong" if a child is born with ginger hair? does that mean brown hair is "normal" and ginger hair is "abnormal"? does that mean we should shave the hair off all ginger people and force them to live as brunettes?

Yes I agree that the existence of six-fingered people "doesn't change the norm" that most people have five fingers - but the norm is just that - a norm. Just because something is considered 'normal' does mean that everything else is invalid.

Also, because you haven't really given me a lot to work with here: what is the "reason" that green exists? I'm interested to know...
Debate Round No. 4


Wrong = not correct/ messed up somewhere at some point.

Ginger hair is uncommon yes. But it still fits in the color spectrum. Green exists because it is part of the color spectrum. There are very few colors our hair can naturally be. As long as you fit into one of those few colors your okay.

However, the "sex spectrum" is much smaller and only includes two options.

But what does any of this have to do the topic of this debate?

Here nice and simple, you shouldn"t have to call someone by their preferred pronoun because of the first amendment. You can call them whatever you want. They can"t sue you, or put you on trial, because it"s your free speech to call them whatever.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Redbluegreen 3 years ago
Pro. I have no opinion one way or the other in this debate. But i am curious as to how you would handle hermaphrodites, should they not have the option to be called what they choose? What about people without genitals? And would you say there is a difference between a sex and a gender?
Posted by LoveRichardDawkins 3 years ago
Put what you think about gender aside. Being unnecessarily mean to trans people is just wrong.
I would always use someone"s preferred pronoun. It is simply courtesy.
Posted by Joshfour 3 years ago
There are only two genders.
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