To me, a woman, from the salesperson at a convenience store. This happens to me all the time. I am a cis woman, in my 60’s, with a short haircut and no makeup, often wearing gender neutral style clothing. Annoyed, and wondering why the most casual encounter between strangers has to have include a gender marking word. (via microaggressions)
It strikes me as really interesting how in cases like these, being polite in the way it’s generally socially mandated necessarily involves assuming and invoking the other person’s gender. Kids are brought up being admonished to add “sir” or “ma’am” or another title onto their statements or questions as a matter of being polite. But so few of those terms are not gendered! There isn’t a basic term marking respect or deference regardless of (assumed) gender, and that just seems like such a gap in the English language. My office gets letters all the time addressed to “Ladies and Gentlemen”, or “Sirs and/or Madams”, or something along those lines, and it’s always so clunky, not to mention binarist.
I feel like we really need a truly gender-neutral word to stand in for “You Person” that also denotes respect. Maybe I should go around calling people Your Reverence.