A minor but ongoing area of confusion in my evolution as a mom writing about her transgender kid is how to refer to that kid (once a girl, now a boy) using names and pronouns that won't completely confuse the reader. Until he was ten, Muir was G. and used she/her pronouns. Now twelve, Muir is Muir and uses he/him pronouns, and we always call him Muir/he/him, even when referring to the time in our lives when he was little and went by G./she/her. But when I write about Muir as a little kid, trying to communicate with readers who don't know him, how do I avoid confusing them? Do I use G./she when writing about his life before his transition? Or Muir/him? Even more baffling, what if I'm writing about Muir in the present and referring to G. in the past in the same sentence?
Honestly, I have no clue. Strunk & White didn't cover this situation. Maybe the Chicago Manual or AP have settled the dilemma? I should check. For now, though, let's just assume that I'm making this up as I go along, and, while I'll endeavor to avoid confusion in my stories, you may at times find yourself wondering, "Wait...was he a she then? Or not? Who is he? Why was he a she last paragraph and now he's a he again?"
Let me tell you, it's confusing, even when you're living it every day. In spite of my sincere efforts, I make mistakes about gender markers all the time, using she when I should use he, or he when I should use them, or scrambling to figure out if I should use he or she when I refer to the childhood of a person who, as an adult, is now a she, he or them.
You get the picture.
I have no choice but to just stumble onward, making my best effort to choose the right words and trusting that whatever mistakes I may make, people will know I made them out of genuine, loving confusion, not ignorance or indifference.
Probably all you need to know is that, regardless of the name or gender marker I use in these entries, or the inconsistency with which I may bounce back and forth between them, in these stories, I'm always talking about the same person.
A message which may, now that I think of it, actually be the point of this entire project.