The English Language Sucks At Being Gender Neutral

There are many in the queer community who are not content with the two genders that we as a society assign to people. It’s true that for many, both male and female are limiting or just don’t quite nail down how a person feels in terms of their own gender. There are very specific roles associated with these genders and they tend to be mutually exclusive. For the genderqueer among us finding an identity somewhere in between the two (or outside the male/female paradigm all together) feels more comfortable and more authentic.

One of the main issues that queer people and queer allies deal with in terms of gender is pronouns. She, her, hers, he, him, and his are the only pronouns we english speakers have for referring to someone in the singular. I think we can all agree that ‘it’ is not a desirable pronoun for anyone and can feel down right offensive.

The most commonly used gender neutral pronouns these days are ‘they’ and ‘their’ but, as any grammer freak will tell you, using those words in the singular form is just no good. “They is such a thoughtful person,” is clearly poor english and would make my mother cringe like it’s nobody’s business. In old english there were some gender neutral pronouns like “ze, nis and nir,” but I don’t see anyone adopting them any time soon either.

I don’t know what the solution to the problem is. Perhaps some new words need to be created. There are all sorts of stupid words being invented to describe stupid thinks like burkinis (a burka bikini), why not invent a useful word that can be used to empower people who are being actively discriminated against by the very language they speak. Granted, if your not a straight man, the english language is pretty discriminatory towards you, but if you are one of the many who don’t identify as either a man or a woman, the language practically denies your existence.

Language is powerful. It can greatly affect the way you view the world, in fact the two are intimately intertwined. If your language doesn’t acknowledge you and how you view yourself, you lack the ability to be fully self expressed to a certain extent. I mean how can you be self expressed if you don’t have an expression that adequately describes yourself. Change the language, change the world. Now the only problem is coming up with the words.

 

 

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