You cannot make this stuff up if you tried. [h/t Dave Weigel]
Apparently among the welcome packet for attendees at the liberal NetRoots Nation 2013 conference was a two-paragraph section entitled "Transgender Etiquette." It's short but laughably sweet in its utter absurdity [see photo below] For example, there's this admonition:
Please do not assume anyone's gender, even people you may have met in the past. A person's external appearance may not match their internal gender identity.
How, exactly, does this work in practice? "Oliver? How's it going, bro? Oh, wait, sorry. It's still Oliver, right? Or is it now Olivia?"
But wait, there's more:
Pay attention to a person's purposeful gender expression.
Wait a minute, I thought they just told us that "[a] person's external appearance may not match their internal gender identity." Now they're telling me to pay close attention to one's "purposeful gender expression," presumably meaning the manner in which the person dresses.
The advisory continues:
It's polite to ask, "What pronoun do you prefer?" or "How do you identify?" before using pronouns or gendered words. Or better yet, ask for their name.
That works wonders when the answer is that his/her name is Syndey. Or Leslie. Or Taylor. Or the ever-classic Pat.
The advisory concludes with the suggestion that gender-neutral bathrooms would be a way to ensure that everyone can "pee in peace":
One way of acknowledging transgender people's needs is to designate restrooms as gender neutral. In bathrooms, many transgender people face harassment, so please let everyone pee in peace.
So just remember that, ladies of Netroots Nation, when Oliver ambles into the ladies room behind you just after the "How to Win Friends and Influence People at Netroots Nation" discussion wraps.