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They pronouns

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by Invidia, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. Invidia

    Invidia Guest

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    Hmm? Something wrong? There's nothing here?
     
  2. Secrets5

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    Hi,

    For some reason the ec shuts down at 17:00 every day, and I had posted it not realizing the time.

    What can I say if somebody refuses to use they/them pronouns? I will also say to use xe/xem pronouns - but I don't usually since those aren't well known - but what if they refuse to use those as well?

    Things I've already tried saying in my head is "It's nothing to do with you, it's to do with my gender identity and others respecting that" but I'm not sure if that has enough impact at the ages of 18-19 for them to respect it. [18 year olds still can't shut up about the fact I'm 4 foot 10 so there's a possibility they won't respect either of these].

    I wanted to come out at university so that if somebody doesn't accept me they don't know me much so it's not a big loss and I can just move away, but if they are in my class I might have to work with them.

    Thank-you.
     
    #2 Secrets5, Jul 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  3. Invidia

    Invidia Guest

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    Oh, that's weird. EC operates a bit weird sometimes, haha. Anyways.

    Well, I for one find "they" to be a very easy pronoun to use since I already use it for binary-gendered people too a lot, rather than e.g. using he (or she) as standard pronoun(s) etc.

    If someone can't do such a small favor as use your preferred pronoun... I hate to say, but aren't they kind of just not someone you want to associate yourself with in that case? If with some repitition they're still not being respectful enough to call you what you want, I'd try to befriend others instead.

    Do come out at university. It's among the most open environments as you get in our day and age (and place). Btw, when you said move out, my first interpretation of that was "if someone doesn't accept me I'll immediately transfer to another school" but I'm guessing that's not the right interpretation?
     
  4. Secrets5

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    What I meant by ''move away'' was just leave them and go find some other people to talk to.

    I wouldn't want to be associated with that person, but if I have to work with them in class I don't think I'd be able to get out of that.
     
  5. peterw78165

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    That's when EC does its server backups. They do a partial backup at 9:00 AM, too.
     
  6. Invidia

    Invidia Guest

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    Okay, that's a good idea.

    Yeah, no... sometimes we have to rub shoulders with people we don't like. I feel like that a lot myself. That's life, I think. Sorry if that sounds kind of depressing. ^^ Do you think you could bear it if some people might be rude to you like that? If someone is really being a pain you could always discuss with your teacher.
     
  7. GenderSciFi

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    Sometimes when people make fun of my pronouns or seem too confused, or even if I suspect it's going to be tough, I offer them he/him pronouns (don't know if binary pronouns are an option for you, too), or I'll just turn away and let it be, but letting them know that they're being rude (within the constraints of my manners). But then again, I live in a world where I get called 3 different sets of pronouns each day *sigh*. So maybe not the best place for advice.
     
  8. Reggie

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    My child prefers "they" pronouns. I tried. It gets really confusing when talking about a group of people vs. a singular person. They is not a singular pronoun. It's hard to overcome. For me, it's a grammar thing. It's just what has been ground into my skull.

    My child says him pronouns are not offensive. So I tried him pronouns. It flows so much more naturally.

    I have decades of speaking habits to overcome where I don't use "them" to refer to a singular person. That's not easy to change overnight.
     
  9. Chip

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    I respect people's choice not to use him/her. However, "they" is grammatically incorrect, and can be confusing. So when I'm in that situation, I simply use the person's name instead of an incorrect plural pronoun. That can get a little clumsy too, but it's better than the "Oh? Who else is going, I thought it was just you" that happens when "they" is used when a singular person is being referred to.

    Anyone that refuses to talk to you or to address your concerns is honestly not someone I'd want to spend time around.
     
  10. Kasey

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    To be honest non binary pronouns confuse the shit out of me and while I respect people's identity it's built into my language and culture.

    Calling a singular person "they" or a nonsensical word like "nir" or "zer" is ... frankly impossible if the person doesn't say it first and second isn't even in my lexicon.
     
  11. andimon

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    Wait, isn't "they" also a gender neutral usable pronoun? Can't it replace the "he/she" cliche?
     
  12. Reggie

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    Ditto Chip. I started using "my child" or repeating the name more frequently. Or.... Using constructs like the name instead of her name. That's when he said using he would be fine.

    I'm chiming in to this thread for a couple reasons. One, to try to better understand preference for them/they, and also to lend a perspective on how difficult that is for those who have been learned this is incorrect.

    And no, they is not a gender neutral replacement for a singular pronoun. The best I can reconcile that usage is thinking of the Native American term, two spirited. Maybe there really are two spirits involved, and using them is appropriate.
     
  13. Invidia

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    It is... so I don't really understand why people would feel so strongly about it being a bad idea to use it for non-binary people. :dry:

    Example: "The person that has not seen the seven oceans, cannot say that they have seen the world." (About two inches deep, I know, lol.)
    Surely this usage of 'they' as a gender neutral pronoun is correct? Because I see it all the time.
     
  14. I AM MEOW

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    Look in the Oxford dictionary, they used in a singular context is not grammatically incorrect.
     
  15. Chip

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    Sigh.

    Oxford has made some shitty decisions of late. This is one of them.
     
  16. Secrets5

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    So you're telling me "I respect people's choice not to use him/her" but "however, they is grammatically incorrect" "

    How can you respect someone's choice not to use him/her and then tell them their choice of pronouns is incorrect, so what if it's grammatically incorrect? Grammar can be changed, different countries have different grammar, different time periods have different grammar - so I using ''they are playing football'' is what I'm going to use. It's not my fault if others refuse to use ''made up'' (but even he/she must have been made up at some point - so what's the problem, if it's the new use of language, well, ''cyber'' wasn't a word in the dictionary until Doctor Who came along, and that was only 50 years ago - and nobody has a problem with that) pronouns like xe/xem which can be used with ''xe is playing football''. ''Anyone that refuses to address your concerns..." so if they address it but the person refuses to use they pronouns I still have to just bare it and hang around them since the person ''addressed it'' but did not accept it - I don't want to hang around those people either.

    I don't care if you think this is being dramatic, because I fear this, but I do fear I'm not going to have anyone to talk to in uni, unless I don't come out, because I fear nobody is going to accept this. I have given them an alternative and if they don't like that I don't know what to do. Using my name is fine for a while but after a while I'll see you're just using it to be dismissal of my choice of pronouns, and won't that get tedious after a while, that's why we have pronouns. Not using the right ones on purpose due to your principles of grammar is the same as refusing to accept them altogether - just more subtly done in the way you've justified your refusal - but it's still not okay in my opinion. It's still invalidating.

    ---------- Post added 7th Jul 2016 at 01:22 PM ----------

    Why does your opinion of it being ''shitty'' make it any less valid?
     
    #16 Secrets5, Jul 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
  17. Invidia

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    If you think practically, Chip; if non-binary people want neutral pronouns, but you disapprove of they/ze/xe/whatever, then you're disapproving of all the gender neutral pronouns. In other words, effectively, that's like saying "just stay with your assigned pronoun or take on the pronoun of the other binary gender". Non-binary people don't want that. They want a neutral one. So why not use one? Why do you value grammar over people's feelings (especially when that faulty grammar is even questionable to the point of being a matter of perspective as of now)?
     
  18. BradThePug

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    Singular they is now considered grammatically correct in the Oxford dictionary along with many different journalistic writing standards. Here is a history of the usage of this as a gender neutral pronoun/to refer to a single person.

    At the end of the day though, it is a respect issue. If you do not use the pronouns that a transgender person prefers, then you are not respecting their identity. It's ok if you think that it is incorrect, but it is not ok to turn around and disrespect a person because of that.
     
  19. Reggie

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    That is not correct usage according to the way I was taught. I learned the correct form would be.... "that he has seen the world."

    You may disagree that's correct, but the fact remains I and many, many other people were taught this. Maybe it's a generation thing.

    If you depend on people agreeing with a new interpretation of grammar rules in order to feel respected, I fear that you will be disappointed. It's hard enough to wrap my brain around biological gender not corresponding with identified gender. Trying to use a "wrong" pronoun on top of this makes speaking about said person very awkward.

    I'm not attempting to argue that what is easy should trump another's feelings. It seems like getting to respect is more important than using grammaticality questionable pronouns, especially if the person using the pronoun you don't prefer is making an attempt and has good intentions.

    What am I missing?
     
  20. Eveline

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    Here's a good overview of the history of "They" in singular form: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

    Apparently "singular they" has been used since the 14 century and only became less popular during the 19th/20th century when it was replaced by "he". Personally, talking about a person in third person using "he" as a gender neutral pronoun seems really wrong to me. My country's language is highly gendered and I absolutely despise the fact that a group of both men and women are referred to using male plural pronouns. I'm glad that in English "They" is gender neutral and using the pronoun to refer to a gender neutral person is perfectly logical and natural in my eyes as it is for a large percentage of the population.

    One thing to keep in mind is that language is not static and meaning/use changes over time. Funnily enough, people create new terms all the time and depend on context to help others figure out the meaning. As part of my English degree, some of the more complex theories that I came up with forced me to combine words into new terms to help express what I was trying to say. Traditionally, when you do create new terms, you are supposed to define the term for the reader but I never did that and relied on context to help define the term. I'm talking about a degree in English literature in one of the top five universities in the world and despite using a specific term multiple times, no one ever pointed out that I was using a term that doesn't actually exist. This really does highlight how flexible language is and the freedom inherent in verbal communication and expression.
     
    #20 Eveline, Jul 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016