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6 hours ago, Liesel Downes said:

especially on a platform so heavily focused on voice-only communication. Is that the fault of the people on the other ending saying "sir" or "he" on the radio about them? No... I guarantee you no one looks at the name of the pilot before speaking to them.
[..]
In the end, being called sir doesn't bother me.


Liesel makes a point that I forgot to make in my previous posts here! As she wrote, we can ONLY hear each other here and some address pilots/controllers accordingly. If the voice seems to be a male voice, then some are used to say "Sir", for example. I do not look at the names of controllers or pilots, there simply is no time for it. People do not call others as "Sir" or "Ma'am" to upset them, but in order to be respectful, to be nice, to be friendly. Please appreciate this. There is no hidden agenda. Remember the story I wrote about that chain-smoking controller at some European airport? If she got upset everytime she gets called "Sir", she'd have a heart attack!

Advay, I don't want to sound disrespectful, but please chill out a bit about how you are being addressed with. I can assure you that the vast majority of members here welcomes you with open arms, no matter who or what you are. I definitely do.

 

Maybe, to end this topic from my side, something that I thought about last evening: this is an interesting discussion for me as well, but I can also see that a good number of members (from all over the world!) are not really interested in also discussing "God and the world" on this platform that they only want to use as a means to relax as vpilot and vATCOs. And this is not specific to your cause, but to all discussions from the real world that they already have to put up with: war, crime, COVID, unemployment, disabilities, politics etc.. Many or maybe most members are here to just enjoy our little virtual world of aviation - the real world is out there. Could you sympathize with this view?

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Yea I have to agree with Andreas..when you try and look into things too deeply and read between the lines is where things get all messed up. VATSIM is a beautiful place, really. Just think about

I've been misgendered on VATSIM for nigh on 20 years. I tend to laugh. Agree with @James Horgan though.

Over the past little while I have realized there has been a problem in terms of inclusivity at VATSIM. While it's an amazing community and there are many nice folks, I have had to struggle with things

6 hours ago, Advay Khaitan said:

adding to some amazing points she (hoping I'm using the right pronouns after looking at the previous comment, but please correct me if I'm wrong) has made

That is exactly the point. In order to be politically correct, the correct personal pronoun must be used. Unfortunately, English doesn't provide one. Advay, even with their (using "their" in stead of "her" or "his" as has been suggested, although that simply replaces a linguistic shortcoming with a grammatical absurdity) deep involvement in the issue, is scared to get their pronoun wrong.

6 hours ago, Advay Khaitan said:

I don't believe this is a political issue, but is rather a humanitarian one.

I don't think that is correct. The problem is linguistic. If a person has a low voice, as Andreas has said, it is safer to use male-specific personal pronouns, and vice versa. Not, of course, 100% safe, because English cannot provide that.

I think that everyone already knows that, and yet some people get upset when the wrong one is chosen. It would be absolutely in order for that person to be upset if the wrong choice was made as a deliberate insult, but to make the assumption that everyone who got it wrong was being deliberately insulting is unacceptable.

I also agree with Andreas (that's twice on one post!) regarding the person's name being used as a guide to their gender preference. I have absolutely no idea if "Advey" is a male name or a female name, and I frankly couldn't care less.

Finally, it appears that the use of the word "sir" or "ma'am" is meant to convey respect, and if that is the case, taking offense, given the lack of a gender-neutral alternative, is in my opinion, an inappropriate response. In fact, I believe that this usage is an affectation: it doesn't appear in the official ATC manuals as far as I can see (certainly not in the UK CAP413) and as for conveying respect, I'm not convinced. The police might say to an armed suspect, "Sir! Place your weapon on the ground and place your hands on your head!" I don't think that the "sir" used here is intended to convey respect.

In fact, I think it's a similar situation with ATC. We all know that, when under ATC control, ATC is the director and only dire circumstances will allow a pilot to disobey. That places the power with ATC, and some of these wonderful folks may feel uncomfortable with that, so they use this affectation to try to redress the balance a little. I think the intention is honourable, but it tends to be overdone and is not necessary in an adult aviation environment.

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Alistair Thomson

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Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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At the end of the day, if we're all in agreement that we generally want to be welcoming and respectful to one another, the minute details will work themselves out in time as we all figure out the updated social norms.

Then the only true question that remains is whether the VATSIM Board of Governors would consider amending or relaxing the policy of requiring legal proof of a name change, and/or consider allowing more flexibility for use of a preferred name.  If one is not monitoring this discussion, I would be surprised -- but I submit to the original poster that the next step as far as I can tell would be to find the appropriate BoG member's contact info from the main VATSIM site and request that the matter be formally considered at the next board meeting. 

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Cheers,

-R.

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I frankly don't care who is on the other end of the scope. If you provide a competent service, how you identify, how you gender, talk or act is immaterial.

I have seen an increase in the number of people recently who have decided to put their chosen pronouns into their ATIS. I don't quite understand this - controllers are simply 'Radar', 'Tower' or otherwise. I have never (in real life, or on VATSIM) referred to him/her, he/she when addressing a controller, in the same way I do not say sir or ma'am. CAP 413 (or your local equivalent) sets out guidance on how to interact with ATC, and how to address the relevant units. It does not reference pronouns.

You can logon with your CID. If your forum name or member name is causing you problems, I am sure VATSIM can come up with some sort of system to support you in your identification. Best thing to do is reach out to your FIR chief and the BoG to allow you to make some sort of attestation for how you want to identify. But as it stands I know VATSIM is very inclusive and any omission is certainly not deliberate. Remember, VATSIM in some cases is constrained by legal obligations on them in how they record data.

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Yea I have to agree with Andreas..when you try and look into things too deeply and read between the lines is where things get all messed up.

VATSIM is a beautiful place, really. Just think about all the hatred in the real world day to day. This is a place where no matter your colour/gender/religion/sexuality etc. you are always welcome and everybody is a friend, and THAT is what matters. Don't unnecessarily disturb it.

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New York ARTCC

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I have been misgendered in USA because of my first name (outside VATSIM)... And many names are not self-explanatory, and I wonder why should they.

But the solution to lot of this misgendering would be to change to use Finnish language as ICAO official language! We do not have gender specific pronouns. Of course we have Sir and Madam equivalents, but very rarely used in this context, so by dropping those you would be as polite (or un-polite) as a Finn.

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There are a lot of mentions here about the *intent* behind using certain words. Especially in the context of ATC communications we should understand that how a word is *received* and *understood* is at least as important as the intent behind it. 

Let’s assume no one intends to cause offence or harm by using “Sir” or “Madam” or specific pronouns. That seems pretty obvious, IMO. We should be focusing on the effect that words or VATSIM policies can have on members. 

I will also point out that “let’s just ignore it, I think everything’s fine” isn’t a solution.
 

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1 hour ago, Dace Nicmane said:

Are you saying you can't say "he" and "she" in Finnish? 

True, you can not, everybody is neutral "hän". Neither do we have genders (or articles at all (a, an, die, der, das...)) for things, nor are e.g. our ships "she", they are "se (i.e. it)".

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1 hour ago, Dace Nicmane said:
5 hours ago, Lauri Uusitalo said:

 We do not have gender specific pronouns. 

Are you saying you can't say "he" and "she" in Finnish? 

On the other hand, despite the fact that French genderises ALL nouns, they do have a genderless third person pronoun, "lui."

Also, their word for "aircraft" is masculine, and given that pilots are referred to by ATC according to the callsign of the aircraft, it could be argued that using "he" in reference to the aircraft ahead crossing left to right, would be correct... if we were speaking in French... :)

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Alistair Thomson

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Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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7 hours ago, Dylan Luhowy said:

Especially in the context of ATC communications we should understand that how a word is *received* and *understood* is at least as important as the intent behind it. 

We use specific words and phrases that are designed to be unambiguous. That is why standard phraseology exists. It is for the purpose of safety, and never has phraseology been adjusted to accommodate how those words and phrases make the pilot/controller feel. That is why trying to legislate a problem like this away is utter nonsense -- we are not improving efficiency, or safety, or improving communication in any meaningful way. This is an attempt to shoehorn an entirely political issue into a professional environment under the guise of empathy. 

I can agree that not allowing VATSIM members to change their names is a bit of a strange issue. However, it has been stated earlier that the process exists, but it is simply inaccessible for those who are unable to provide supporting documentation. Whether or not an individual has access to such supporting documentation is not the responsibility of VATSIM. The policy exists to -- if previous posts are to be believed -- protect minors and ensure that law enforcement can contact at-risk or predatory VATSIM members if necessary. 

There is, of course, a solution: allow members to insert their full, legal name, in addition to a "preferred name" which they can use instead. However, both names must be accessible in order to further the goals of the legal name policy.

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7 hours ago, Dylan Luhowy said:

We should be focusing on the effect that words or VATSIM policies can have on members. 

If someone specifically asks for me to refer to them in a certain way, then fine, I can do that no problem. But if we're asking people to read between the lines and think if about each transmission and whether or not it might have the off chance of upsetting or offending someone somewhere before we say it, it ruins the purpose (and fun) of flying on VATSIM in the first place. With maybe the exclusion of the current policies on name changes, VATSIM is already extremely inclusive in its policies. We have pilots from basically every age, background, country, race, religion, gender, sexuality, blind pilots, deaf pilots, speech impaired pilots, and the list goes on. Sebastien put it really nicely already so I'll just quote him:

On 3/20/2021 at 6:00 PM, Sebastien Bartosz said:

VATSIM is a beautiful place, really. Just think about all the hatred in the real world day to day. This is a place where no matter your colour/gender/religion/sexuality etc. you are always welcome and everybody is a friend, and THAT is what matters. Don't unnecessarily disturb it.

 

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Josh Jenk

CZVR C1 controller

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Totally agree with Josh and Sebastian.  Just wondering, I do not recall  when I joined long ago having to provide any evidence of my identity or how I identify except for my email address. Is this documentation now required as part of the registration process?

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On 3/18/2021 at 9:56 PM, Advay Khaitan said:

Over the past little while I have realized there has been a problem in terms of inclusivity at VATSIM. While it's an amazing community and there are many nice folks, I have had to struggle with things like constantly being misgendered and having to use my dead name due to VATSIM's policy of using legal names. I'm not writing this post to start a fight or for it to be controversial, but just to start a discussion about the long road we have to make changes and promote inclusivity. While VATSIM allows you to use a shortened version of your legal name for some things, you still have to register with websites, join various VATSIM community discords (including FIRs), and so much more using your legal name. 

Our legal name often is a reminder to us to the harassment and hate we have faced through queerphobia. Aviation enthusiasts and aviators come in all forms, and there are going members of the LGBTQ+ community as well. It's about finding a way to provide an inclusive environment so that everyone feels comfortable and has fun up in the air or down in ATC! 

I know many will say that's how it has been done in terms of using names, and referring to people as sir/ma'am is just basic aviation nomenclature, but why not be the change we want to see and make it a more inclusive and welcoming environment while promoting aviation among people? I'm sure it will take time and effort, and people will still make mistakes, but this will help us make VATSIM more inclusive for many of us! 

For anyone reading this post, until VATSIM makes changes, here are a few ways I think we can promote inclusivity (not all of these can happen over frequency so I'll mark f for things I think can be done over frequency along with in community groups):
Ask people what they'd like to be called
Ask for pronouns
Mention your own pronouns
Instead of he/him or she/her, use they/them when uncertain of someone's pronouns (f)
Use gender neutral terms like folks (f)
Make this post and your voices heard!

Again, this is not to bring about hate, just love! Love you all! 

Adi (they/them)

Oh for the love of God. Really? I've never even considered anyone on this network to be challenged in any manner on their life choices. Everyone here is sharing in the love of aviation. Nothing more.

Grandstanding with your political beliefs has no place here "in my opinion". 

Frankly, I believe most controllers here would rather you learn the basic concepts of flying, aviation, terminology, procedures, etc. rather than worry about yourself being offended by not being recognized as whatever.  

 

 

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10 hours ago, Daniel Mckee said:

I do not recall  when I joined long ago having to provide any evidence of my identity or how I identify except for my email address. Is this documentation now required as part of the registration process?

No, it never was. VATSIM simply assumed that people were honest and registered with their real names. Only when requesting to change a name, VATSIM may request a proof of identity. 

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10 hours ago, Mike Lehkamp said:

Oh for the love of God. Really? I've never even considered anyone on this network to be challenged in any manner on their life choices. Everyone here is sharing in the love of aviation. Nothing more.

Grandstanding with your political beliefs has no place here "in my opinion". 

Frankly, I believe most controllers here would rather you learn the basic concepts of flying, aviation, terminology, procedures, etc. rather than worry about yourself being offended by not being recognized as whatever.  

 

 

Just because you may not have participated in or experienced discrimination or the lack of inclusivity that certain members of this network have experienced, does not mean it does not exist. This thread is not political, it's about trying to educate people on the LGBTQ+ community and how to show respect towards those members. 

 

A lot of complex issues are brought up and being discussed in this thread. We as members don't have control over policies such as required documents for changing your name. That being said, we do have control over our actions and how we treat each other. This thread should hopefully show that our community is vastly diverse. We have a responsibility to respect each other and learn from one another. Growing up, VATSIM was a huge part of my life and identity. As a gay man, I was fortunate to be able to find others like me in this community that I was able to learn from and bond with. Not everyone has these experiences, but showing respect and willingness to grow and learn from each other is a huge part of any community.

 

I commend Advay for speaking up about an issue important to them. Regardless of your political affiliation, religious beliefs, or preconceived ideas, take a step back and realize that we are all humans, here for the same reason, and deserve equal amounts of respect. 

 

 

Edited by Justin A. Martin
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11 hours ago, Mike Lehkamp said:

I've never even considered anyone on this network to be challenged in any manner on their life choices.

After reading Adi's description of the challenges they have faced on this network, in the first post in this thread, would you still consider no one on this network as having been challenged in any manner on their life choices?

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Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Ross I agree with what you have said, however the use of the phrase “on their life choices?” is not ideal.

I don’t believe a heterosexual male could easily ‘choose’ to be say homosexual.  I don’t believe it is a choice in any way.  History has shown that regardless of how society ‘disciplines’ people in order to change their choice it doesn’t work because it simply isn’t a lifestyle choice.

 

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Sean

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Here in Britain any person has the right to change their name by deed poll but also if a person is considering to transition to a different sex/sexuality they can by law change their name to that of their choice in his/her new gender. It seems to me that the problem that many people experience while transitioning is that the country in which they reside doesn't allow what is now common in Britain and a few other states. If the originator had the right to change his/her name to that of the opposite sex, the issue encountered in Vatsim would not have taken place. Unfortunately many countries have not recognised that transgender people have the need to change their name to reflect the sex they have chosen. in such circumstances  education of the population at large and political activism can achieve  a law change to recognise this problem. However in a such a society and in a world of 7.5 billion+, with many different religions, ethics and you name it, nobody can expect universal approval and there will always be some people that hate you, don't like you, etc. etc..

The rules are clear, insulting behaviour and abuse should not be tolerated and if anyone infringes this then the person agrieved should report it. I don't think that this issue has anything to do with simulation per se but do understand the frustration of the orignator of this post.. Hopefully a solution will be found to close this matter.

 

Edited by Joaquin Blanco

Best regards

Joaquin Blanco

 

 

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Well, I have tried to find about the OP's activity on VATSIM. He did not publish his VATSIM ID on the forums and with his last name the VATSIM Stats page did not find anything. I don't want to invalidate the OP's request, but it would be beneficial to see the context, how many months/years has he/she/it/them been online with VATSIM, how many flights have been performed, how much experience has been accumulated with other VATSIM members. How can you judge VATSIM from an interaction with people from a Discord server that is not even an official VATSIM server?

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On 3/19/2021 at 10:08 AM, Koen Meier said:

Diversity is not just about gender or sexuality it is also about the people who are blind, have hearing issues, or other personal circumstances. Once we can great a diverse leadership within vatsim so we can improve upon the inclusivity of the organization. We all share the same passion for aviation.

one thing I like to share coming out is not about sexuality or gender.  Coming out is about letting others know who you really are as a person and this applies to all people. You can come out due to autism or another mental health problem or a disease.

I'd just like to give you a huge highfive for this. As someone who is Blind, the idea of a blind individual flying an aircraft is pretty lutacris, I'm well aware. However controllers, apart from a few who either did not understand my intent or the fact that lining up and waiting on the runway  takes a matter of seconds for me, have been incredibly accomodating.

I've been on the vatsim network for just over a year now and, while my issue is far and wide much less than what the OP is facing, I'd just like to put my two cents in regarding that particular issue, as well.

 

One of my personal issues that I am working incredibly hard to change is referring to pronouns correctly. I have recently begun using they/them by default, regardless of how the voice may sound on ATC, and this has also transferred over to my daily life. I tend not to check controller information - this is my own undoing, more than likely - and I'll try and be more mindful of this in the future. Please do know, however, that this is a slow process. I have made many mistakes along the way, been humbled and educated all at the same time.

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