Recently I participated in an event where I was having a conversation with some of the attendees at the end about getting rid of gender identification. These were activist types who have conversations about gender identification on Facebook.

So I get and understand that those conversations happen in certain groups. I appreciate the activist community and my fellow academic feminists. They’re the ones writing papers, publishing studies and drafting proposals that are used to enact laws. I appreciate their contributions to the cause of the equality of all. But when people have those types of conversations about what people should be called, it’s always off-putting to me.

I think those kinds of conversations are ridiculous. Not because I agree or disagree with them but because I respect how people choose to see themselves. If I meet a trans woman who wants to be referred to as gender neutral, cool. If I meet a trans man who wants to be referred to as he, him and his, cool. I want to respect who you say you are so I will.

It’s that simple to me. I’ve always felt that way. I was exposed to the cross gender community when I was in high school because I was a volunteer with AID Atlanta. Visiting homes where people were living with HIV/AIDS, gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with men and women of various self- categorizations. And when I met these wonderful people, however they wanted to be called, I called them. And this always rang true for me.

When someone is living in their truth, you have to honor that truth. Now there are some people who are living a lie but unless you are close to that person, it’s not your job to expose them for the life they’re living. You respect who someone says they are and honor their wishes. There’s no need to throw out forms of identification because some people are empowered through the use of those labels.

Rather than getting rid of identification, let’s focus on being respectful of someone’s wishes.