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How to explain they/them pronouns?

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by HoodieClub, Jan 26, 2020.

  1. HoodieClub

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    Hello! So, I hace a friend and she sometimes sees things very differently them i do, which is totally cool. Thing is, one of those things is that she doesn't really understand they/them pronouns, and thinks that they make people sound like objects. I was just wondering if anybody had any suggestions for how to talk to her. Thanks!
     
  2. BradThePug

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    The english language is weird. We have totally inamate objects that have genders assigned to them like boats. Boats are almost always referenced using female pronouns. I think that you may be able to explain the pronouns by tying into this. Also, they is often used offhand to reference somebody. This is when somebody just says "they said that" or something similar. So, I would use some examples like those to show that they does not always reference objects.
     
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  3. Batman

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    Using singular they/them pronouns can be a little uncomfortable for people, I think mostly because when it is used naturally in English, it's usually regarding someone you don't know very well ("I talked to the student and they said...").

    The first time I used they/them pronouns for my friend it was really difficult, even as someone in the community. It's definitely something that just feels like you're breaking a rule every time you say it until your mouth gets used to it and then it just feels normal. My friend even messes up their own pronouns sometimes :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

    I think it would be good to reiterate that them using your preferred pronouns is important to you, and not really a choice. Their respect for you should take priority over linguistics.