Hi Abigail, thanks for reading & responding. I totally get it. It felt weird to me at first, too. NStill does, in certain company, where I know the other person doesn’t understand or know about my kid and I’m referring them that way. Usually I avoid it, opting instead to say, “my youngest,” or “my teen,” or “my kiddo.” Fortunately, my kid is very forgiving and not one to harp on pronouns. But I know others who care very much about their pronouns, and I always want to respect that.
For the most part, now I can say “they/them/their/themself” when referring to my trans non-binary teen and it feels perfectly natural. It’s gotten to the point where I’m so used to it, that I accidentally end up using “they” instead of “he” when referring to my oldest, who’s cis male, or I end up using “they” instead of “she” for my 2nd, who’s cis female. Sort of like a mom trying to remember one of her kids’ names, but instead blurting out a string of all of their names until arriving at the correct one. Whenever I do this with the pronouns, I just have to shake my head and laugh, quickly correct myself, and move on.
I agree — it shouldn’t be a big deal to make a legit, unintentional mistake. In theory, I think most reasonable people agree with this, andd most people want to be respectful of others in general.
But there’s always that one person (or handful of people) who will flat out reject & refuse the existence of singular they. I’ve met a lot of them in real life. They have very inflexible mindsets. There’s even an example above in the comments here on this piece, as well as plenty of comments on other pieces I’ve written, where other readers call the very notion of non-binary gender “nonsense” or “ridiculous.” ;-)