Friday, August 28, 2015

Gender Neutral Pronouns

We are familiar with the singular pronouns she, her, hers and he, him, his, but those are not the only singular pronouns. In fact, there are dozens of gender-neutral pronouns.

A few of the most common singular gender-neutral pronouns are they, them, their(used as singular), ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr.

These may sound a little funny at first, but only because they are new. The she and he pronouns would sound strange too if we had been taught ze when growing up.

    The above link is from an academic source that explores the possibility of gender neutral pronouns, and I'd like to ask if we should use gender neutral pronouns within the context of academia. 

    I'd think that the use of gender neutral pronouns is such that, if there is a person without a gender, then we are warranted to use a gender neutral pronoun for 'hirs', which is the 3rd person pronoun for our hypothetical person, for example. So we would use these pronouns when there is a need to describe a person without gender. But if someone claims to be without gender, then the claim itself is ambiguous, since hir is just not familiar with hirself.

    Then we have 'ze', a person without gender, while 'hir' is the 2nd person(al) pronoun. So now have them in order: ze (1st), hir (2nd), and hirs (3rd). These are the gender neutral pronouns of the singular variety. And the same could be done for plurals, which they themselves do not use because this group of unfamiliar youths is not a community as of yet. One day when hirs become one, then what need will there be for 'them'?

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