We did it, everybody! We totally got rid of the word "woman!" Nobody is ever allowed to use that word again*. (Okay, I just used it a moment ago, but that was the last time. From now on, the "w" word is completely excised from our collective vocabulary, on pain of exfiltration**. I just heard that DC Comics is renaming its iconic superhero "Wonder Person," which seems like a decent start.
But why stop there? Here are some other words we should absolutely use the full might of the Trans Army to get rid of:
1) Hinge. I mean, it rhymes with "cringe." Also, if you draw it out, it sort of sounds like a door creaking open: hiiiiiinnnnge. It's too close to onomatopoeia, and (just so you know) onomatopoeia is inherently transphobic. Words should not sound like the thing they describe, it's just offensive. From now on, you must only use the term "portal fulcrum." It rolls off the tongue, try it!
2) Grapefruit. This is just a mess. I understand that "peanut" basically means "pea, but make it a nut." But why do we have both "grapes" and "grapefruits?" Hello!!! Grapes are already a fruit. Clearly we should call these Big Sour Oranges, or B.S.O.s for short. (Also, you can't say "blueberry" anymore. You have to say "peafruit." Because why is there "peanut" but no "peafruit"? Get it together, people.)
3) Epilogue. The Greek prefix "epi-" can mean both "before" and "after." Plus it can also mean "upon," "over," "near" or "at." So if your book contains an "epilogue," it could be at the start, the end, or just somewhere vaguely nearby the text. Now that trans people are in charge of language, we're calling these "word count maximizers," or else "story extensions."
4) Ebullient. No, we're not going to explain this one. Trans people are in charge of language now, and we've decided to eliminate this word. That's all you need to know.
5) Repast. Yeah, this is a fancy word for "meal." But it's clearly a way of forcing us to think about the fact that history is repeating itself. We get it. Nazis are back. Jim Crow is back. We're all getting yanked back to the 1950s, or possibly the 1850s. We don't need to think about this every time we make lunch plans, yeesh.
6) Minquilio. This is a word I invented this morning, and already I've decided that nobody is allowed to use it. And because I'm trans, my word is law. I won't even tell you what this word means, because then you'll be even more tempted. Let's just say, this word would be incredibly useful in a whole variety of situations, but it is forbidden fruit. Sorry/not sorry.
7) Pantaloon. Look, loons are a majestic species, and the red-throated loon, in particular, is a graceful diver, able to hunt from the air as well as on the surface of the water, pivoting with a precision nearing that of the falcon. And loons are threatened by habitat disruptions and mercury pollution, so the least thing they need is to have their reputations befouled by your weird puffy britches. Just cut it out. It's all just pants. Pants pants pants. We don't need more than one word for pants.
8) Mouthfeel. Eww. Seriously, ewwwwwww. Stop trying to feel things with your mouth. CREEP.
9) Fortress. So what, this is a lady fort? Why exactly do we feel the need to segregate forts according to gender? Is a fortress just more girly because of its gothic arches or its ramparts or something? Also, we should stop talking about "butts" and "buttresses" for similar reasons. This insistence on gendering everything is going to be our undoing as a species. Also, when you look at a fortress, stop asking loudly how "impregnable" it is.
* Actually, some trans men and non-binary people can get pregnant and might require abortions and other ob/gyn care — and the consequences of not acknowledging this could be serious, and even deadly. It's simply more accurate and humane to note that not all people with uteruses are women, and this doesn't in any way hinder you from acknowledging that cis women make up the vast majority of people affected by abortion bans. And you know what? There's something utterly vicious about pitting vulnerable people against each other, or suggesting that we should throw marginalized folks under the bus in our struggle for justice, because acknowledging their existence is just too inconvenient. If we decide the only way we can get basic human rights is by trying to deny them to others, then we're so, so screwed. So in a nutshell, you can still say "women," but it costs you very little to acknowledge that people other than women are affected by abortion bans.
** I don't know what "exfiltration" is, but it sounds very painful. What are words anyway?
Top image: Foreign Office/Flickr
This Thursday, July 14 at 7 PM, Becky Chambers is coming to Booksmith, and I'm going to be in conversation with her about her new book, A Prayer for the Crown Shy. It's free and open to the public, but you probably ought to RSVP through Booksmith's website because there will be limited space due to social distancing. I love the Monk and Robot books and am super pumped to chat with Becky!
Here's your regular reminder that I've been cranking out books like a book-cranking machine lately. There's my YA trilogy: Victories Greater Than Death is out in paperback now, and the sequel, Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak, is out in hardcover. If you are into stories about artists and nerds and creative people (who are almost all extremely queer) saving the galaxy, these books might be your cup of tea. Also, I have a short story collection called Even Greater Mistakes, which ranges from very silly comedy to dark intensity. Finally, I have book of advice on writing yourself out of hard, scary times called Never Say You Can't Survive: How to Get Through Hard Times By Making Up Stories. Please buy my books, so my cat can keep having toys and cat litter.
You might already know that I've co-created a new trans mutant hero for Marvel Comics, called Shela Sexton aka Escapade. She made her debut in Marvel Voices: Pride #1, which is on sale now, and she's going to be appearing next in three issues of the New Mutants comic which I'm writing (illustrated by Alejandro Alburquerque, with cover art by Rafael De Latorre.) The first issue of this run is New Mutants #31, which comes out on Oct. 26, and here's the description:
Personally recruited by Emma Frost herself, Shela Sexton reluctantly joins her fellow mutants on Krakoa in the hope that the X-Men can prevent the death of her best friend. But is Emma telling her the whole truth? Can Shela adjust to life on the island? Will the New Mutants accept her? Or is this crash course in Krakoan headed for a deadly pileup?
And here's the cover, which was revealed the other day!