I want to make it clear that I am coming from a middle-class background, I am a heterosexual cis-gendered female, and this is my outsider opinion:
I respect gender neutrality.
I respect using the preferred pronouns that align with one's identity.
I respect all people because we are all human beings who deserve dignity.
However, I will not assume gender neutrality and will continue to utilize he/him/she/her until I know otherwise.
As of 2019, many aspects of society have become more accepting and acknowledging of gender neutrality by using they/them pronouns. There are many more public gender-neutral restrooms and less gender-norm objects when it comes to toys or clothes.
I am very happy to see society moving forward.
However, it may be my unpopular opinion when I say that I don't believe we should assume gender fluidity or neutrality when addressing people.
In class, we are reading Freud and he refers to the human race as "he" and "his."
My professor makes us say "they" and "them" when we are reading the text out loud. I understand that he means to be including and correctly refer to us a race and not all "men," but I don't think that people should get so offended by that.
I don't mind that Freud says "he" and "his" because I know that that is just a trivial detail that made sense given the historical context.
It shouldn't have that much meaning to people.
Likewise, I will not stop saying "you guys" or "hey guys" because it is burned into my vocabulary and people shouldn't be so sensitive about that.
I don't think I know a single person who personally gets offended by the phrase "you guys," but that doesn't stop them from posting about ending that practice on social media.
Some professors have even addressed their attempts to stop using phrases that assume an individual's gender identity. Meanwhile, I'm over here thinking, how many people are really getting bothered by that?
It can't be that many.
I don't mean to say that the minority's feelings should be ignored because they are the minority. I am saying that most people do identify with the pronouns that you would assume they do based on physical looks.
I know you can't always judge a book by its cover, but I would get bothered if you were to assume that I do not identify as female. I don't want to be referred to as "they/them" just because you want to be politically correct.
At the end of the day, I believe that it is right to ask people what their pronoun preferences are but that you also shouldn't be so offended if people assume based on physical appearance.
Human beings are evolutionarily programmed to judge based on physical appearance.
Social changes like this take people time to adapt to.
People get so offended and hurt when others make mistakes whether that be in regards to racial, sexual or gender identity.
Just think back in history when it was so difficult to be accepted as gay. Being homosexual was thought of as a mental disease. Those people couldn't just correct others when they mistakenly labeled them, instead, they would be sent to jail or an asylum. The LGBTQ community knew that it would take time and hard work for society to get accustomed to such a change in thought.
In no way do I intend to invalidate people's feelings. I understand that those feelings and opinions are real and worth something, I just think that you should reevaluate them.
If I accidentally use the wrong pronoun before I get the chance to ask or explain, then they should just politely correct me and life goes on.
I will then be happy to use their preferred pronoun.
But I will not assume that they want to be referred to as "they/them" and neither should you.
In my opinion, that's just as bad as using the wrong pronoun altogether.
At the end of the day, you should assume that people will assume. Be mature about it. Change takes time. People learn by making mistakes.