LGBTQIA+ and iNaturalist

To your user name.
10 years ago this artist drew a dragon for me.


Completely true. For the last 4 years we’ve had a lovely pair of dedicated gay male mallard ducks visiting our garden, they behave in just the same way as a male/female pair that also visit. In fact the gay couple are more loving to each other, preening themselves and each other on our lawn, chasing off other mallards that come too close, its lovely! :D Nature is nature whatever the species and love is love.


7 posts were merged into an existing topic: Moderation decisions about several posts in the LGBTQIA+ Thread

If you don’t know someone’s pronouns (in English), they/them is the best way to go, then you can use whatever their pronouns are once they or someone else tells you.


You see someone walking down the street with a cool haircut. Instead of assigning he or she pronouns based on what you assume of their gender, you can say, “Wow, did you see their hair? That was so cool!”

You could also use one, I suppose, but it might confuse people since that’s usually not used in everyday conversation these days.

It would be interesting for a new English pronoun set to be created for specifically when you don’t know someone’s pronouns, but it wouldn’t stay with that specific role for long, lol, I know lots of people who’d immediately snatch it up (positive) to use as a personal pronoun.


Tbh the singular they has been in use for so long in the english language that it really should be a nobrainer; the hullaboo in the media and general US culture right now is entirely manufactured outrage.


A very good quote from the linked article:

“For centuries, this function of they was grammatically accepted. It could transition from plural to singular depending on the situation, similar to the pronoun you. Only in the 18th century did grammarians declare that the singular they was invalid, their reasoning being that a plural pronoun can’t take a singular antecedent. Never mind that you, which used to be exclusively plural, had undergone this exact change.”

5 Likes Going to put this here. Again. Because the 2 posts are still there

1 Like

If you think misgendering trans people is wrong and should not be allowed in this forum, tell staff that on the new thread they made since they don’t want the posts criticizing them to be seen here:

Watch this one get removed too!


"# Misgendering: What it is and why it matters

July 23, 2021

As a cisgender woman with long hair and a closet full of dresses, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been misgendered by being called “he” or “sir.” Cisgender means I was assigned female at birth and identify as a woman. For people who are transgender and/or nonbinary (TNB), with a different gender identity than their assigned sex at birth, being misgendered may be a daily occurrence.

Why does misgendering matter?

Imagine a scenario in which you are called the wrong pronoun or honorific — for example Mr., Ms., or Mrs. — multiple times a day. It might happen in person, over the phone, or via email. Each time it happens, you must decide whether it is worth it to correct that person or easier to let it go. Imagine that you are repeatedly confronted with this experience and the decision of whether or not to correct it throughout the day — every day. As we know from research, and as I’ve also heard from the TNB people I know, this is both exhausting and demoralizing. When people are misgendered, they feel invalidated and unseen. When this happens daily, it becomes a burden that can negatively impact their mental health and their ability to function in the world.

If you are a cisgender person, you can lighten this burden for TNB people by using the right names, pronouns, and honorifics to refer to them, apologizing when you misgender someone, and correcting other people when they misgender someone.

How do you use the correct name, pronouns, and honorifics?

It’s simple: follow the person’s lead, or ask them. The name, pronouns, and honorifics that a person chooses to use for themselves communicate to others how they want to be seen and acknowledged. Using the correct terms for someone is a sign of respect and recognition that you see them as they see themselves.

If you knew someone previously as one gender and now they use a different name, pronouns, or honorifics, it can be hard to remember to use the right terms, especially if the person is gender-fluid and changes their pronouns more often. It can also be challenging to adjust to using gender-neutral pronouns like they and them, neopronouns like ze and zir, and unfamiliar honorifics, such as Mx (pronounced “mix”). But using the right terms is critically important for supporting and respecting TNB people.

A few tips and tools

  • Try not to make assumptions about a person’s name, pronouns, or honorifics based on how they look. The only way to know for sure what terms a person uses is to ask them in private (“What pronouns do you use?”). Asking someone in front of other people may unintentionally put them on the spot to disclose their identity to new people. You can ask anyone — cisgender or TNB — their name, pronouns, or honorifics.
  • Once you know what terms a person uses, the best way to make sure that you use the correct ones is to practice (this tool can help). Practice when they are in the room and when they are not in the room. Practice before you know you will see someone. Practice with others in your life: your cisgender friends, your spouse, your pet, your child. In our household, my wife and I try to use gender-neutral pronouns to refer to our preschooler’s toys and dolls so that we can practice using them ourselves. We even change the pronouns of characters in books that we read as another way to practice.
  • Another tip for remembering to use the correct name, pronouns, and honorifics is to pause before you speak. When we are stressed or busy, we are more likely to misgender people. Try to pause for a beat before you speak to make sure you are using the right terms to refer to someone. Similarly, reread emails before you send them to make sure you are not misgendering someone.
  • Be patient as you learn to use new terms and pronouns. It gets easier with practice and may become second nature over time.

How to apologize for misgendering someone

Misgendering will happen. What’s most important is how you handle it when it does. The best way to handle misgendering someone who is present is to apologize and try harder next time (“I’m sorry, I meant [correct name/pronoun/honorific]”). Keep your apology brief so that it doesn’t become about you and your mistake.

If you are corrected by someone else, try not to be defensive. Instead, simply respond with a thank you and a correction (“Oh, thank you — I’ll email [correct name/pronoun] about that”). This is an important step, even if the misgendered person is not present, so you can practice and so others can learn from your example. Any time you misgender someone, practice so you can do better next time.

How to correct misgendering when you hear or see it

As a cisgender colleague and supervisor to numerous TNB people, many of whom are nonbinary and use they/them pronouns, I often find myself in situations where I need to correct misgendering. I might say something like “I noticed you used she to refer to that person. Just to let you know, they use they/them pronouns.” Or I might write a note in a Zoom chat or in an email, “Just a friendly reminder that this person uses they/them pronouns.” Stepping forward this way lessens the burden of correcting misgendering for TNB people. It also models to others that a correction can be done in a friendly way, and is important for respecting and including TNB people.

How to use gender-neutral language and normalize pronouns

One way to avoid misgendering is to use gender neutral language. Here are some examples:

  • Instead of “boys and girls” or “ladies and gentlemen,” say “everyone.”
  • Instead of “fireman” or “policeman,” say “firefighter” or “police officer.”
  • Instead of “hey guys,” say “hey everyone” or “hey all.”

Try to pay attention to your language and find ways to switch to gender-neutral terms.

You can be mindful of your own pronouns and help other people be mindful by normalizing displays of pronouns. Here are some ways that I make my own pronouns (she/her) visible to others:

  • I list my pronouns in my email signature, in my Zoom name, and on the title page of presentations.
  • I wear a pronoun pin at work.
  • I introduce myself with my pronouns.

These actions signal to others that I am thinking about pronouns, and am aware that people may use different pronouns than might be expected from their appearance.

You may still make mistakes, but it’s important to keep practicing and trying to use the right terms! By using the correct names, pronouns, and honorifics to refer to people, apologizing when you misgender someone, and correcting other people when they misgender, you can support and respect the TNB people around you. This helps create a more inclusive world for everyone."


I’m queer and recently joined INaturalist. It’s disheartening to see others being misgendered and is discouraging when this is a community I would like to be involved with. Listen to queer folks, take down posts misgendering others, and acknowledge the mistakes that were made. We are all here with similar goals and to learn about the world around us. Staff and moderators should be welcoming the response of queer folks as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than getting defensive. Here’s hoping we can all move forward in a more respectful way to everyone in the community.


This is directed at no one in particular, but I want to say that I have been so happy to see the new wave of young (and of course the older ones!) naturalists that are LGBT+. You are seen and you are valued and I want to assure you that you are welcome and very necessary.


Knowing what I know of what has gone on behind the scenes, I wonder if the staff even know what tone policing is. If they do, they’re obviously okay with it.

Whatever happened to the “view hidden content” button?


I understand people have different views on all sorts of stuff, this included, but I think people need to realize that outside views do not matter compared to one’s life. One’s opinion on how another person naturally is and how they exist and who they are is simply not comparable to that person’s life at all in terms of value. And I don’t mean that to be disrespectful but it’s not like we are discussing our favorite foods or something. It’s frustrating that through all the discourse, it is forgotten that this who people are and how they live and it’s their daily life. It’s not up for debate, nor should it be. You are who you are and when people have a problem with that, the least they can do is keep it to themselves. I think anything other than that is basically hate speech and should not be tolerated on the forum or the site.

It’s a shame any of this is even questioned by some people. I’m grateful that most people I’ve encountered on here seem supportive and I wish everybody was just like that. Whoever you are is who you are and that is correct because it is you and there’s only one you. Which is great and special.


@sedgequeen have you tried putting yourself in the other person’s position? Suppose that someone on here had very negative experiences with the term “she.” Maybe he was a boy who was thought of as a sissy, bullied and tormented and called a girl by the other boys, who cruelly referred to him as “she.” That’s valid, right? But now supposed that he told you, to your face, that because of those connotations, he was not going to refer to you as “she.” Would you consider that to be respectful?

“Assume that people mean well” – maybe you hadn’t thought of it that way. But now that you have, you have the opportunity to revise your posts, even though the moderators do not remove them. I think it is clear by now that leaving them “for context” is not beneficial.


Thanks, Dallon. A breath of fresh air with the kindness I have learnt to expect from you.


Actually, I’ve tried twice to modify one of my posts and can’t because of the slow mode.


So anyways, for anyone who’s unaware, Nonbinary-Naturalist was officially banned by staff for a full week for refusing to back down on the simple fact that staff need to remove the 2 posts from this thread.

@Sedgequeen I see that you are typing. Please remove your posts from this thread, for the – oh and live i see that because of slow mode you can’t even do that for the technicalities. Thank you for trying!

If you would to see and practice with neopronouns, as well as understand Nonbinary-Naturalist’s perspective a little bit more, it has written a collection of short stories with different neopronouns being used for each story

You can also find a collection of novels and essays by the late and great queer activist, Leslie Feinburg (she/zie/hir) here:


anyone that wants the 2 misgendering posts to be removed, please go vote “no” in the poll here to show you are unsatisfied with staff’s decision to keep them visible.

1 Like

You’re here to tell us queer naturalists that we don’t experience what we’re telling you we experience?

On the absolutely simplest level, visibility is encouraging to people who have historically been made unwelcome in a given social space. In general that means women, people of color, and queer people. I’m not sure why that’s so difficult to understand.


I hid two posts above because the first was calling out other users and making accusations about them based on behavior from other sites, and the second was a response to it. Trying to keep this focused on the LGBTQIA+ experience and iNat/nature.