A subset of autistic users has reported that they are not always able to use the pronouns that another user requests.
The current Code of Conduct is clear on this matter: Using stated pronouns is greatly preferred. The users in question report that this is unfortunately impossible for them.
It is also acceptable to consistently and inconspicuously use gender-neutral language, but that may not always be possible for these users: natural and inconspicuous writing correlates poorly with rigidity of language! It can also easily come off as hostile to trans users, and even at best shows less respect than using appropriate pronouns.
I am asking about users who wish to show respect to trans and non-binary users, and therefore to comply with the Code of Conduct, but who are currently unable to do so.
How does the problem work?
What situations does this apply to?
- Using different pronouns for different people, as opposed to the same pronoun for everyone?
- Changing a previously assumed pronoun (from username, avatar, previous knowledge of the person before transition, etc.)?
- Using pronouns outside a closed set (e.g. able to use "he" or "she" but not "they", or "they" but not "zie")?
How does the difficulty work? Understanding this may be helpful in coming up with solutions.
- What are its causes?
- What worsens or alleviates it?
- Is it a difficulty perceiving users as their stated gender, or using language that expresses this perception?
What would make it easier for these users?
What can the StackExchange software, user-supplied software, or human editors do to help these autistic users use the correct pronouns?
For example, would some macro like
%possessive@JaneDoe (that reads JaneDoe's profile and expands to "hers") help? Or a user script that, before posting, highlights every personal pronouns so that the writer can fix them manually?