Gender personal pronouns

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Seattle, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    5,097
    Gender personal pronouns, love them or hate them?

    I'll be up front, this is an area where I may be the grumpy old man who isn't embracing change so readily so I'd like to hear from a broader cross-section of people. The main exposure to this for me has been from one female 25 year old who wanted to be called "they". Non-binary, gender fluid type. Another female 25 year old who is gay explained that another 25 year old "person" that we both know wants to be referred to as "they" and later "they" posted on Facebook that this is what she wants to be referred to as.

    The gay female (I know from the climbing gym and I like her a lot) is what I think of as a "normal acting person".

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    The 25 year old who looks like a female, has female sex organs, is engaged to a male and dresses in a unisex way much of the time and occasionally in a more feminine way is a pretty dramatic and quirky, very sensitive individual.

    I say all this just to put in all in perspective. She posted that she never really felt comfortable with girly, pink, frilly things and wants to be addressed as "they" even if she sometimes decides to appear more feminine.

    I do get that gender and sexual orientation are two different things and that gender can be on a continuum. In the past I might have thought of a guy who was a little on the effeminate side or a guy who was a little too macho or a woman who was overly feminine acting or dressing. They were still referred to as she and he though.

    My initial reaction is that if you know someone and want to show them respect you refer to them however they want to be referred to. At the same time, it strikes me as being a little too self-absorbed to expect society to know what your preferred gender pronoun is and to use it so that you won't be offended. Beyond that referring to a single person as "they" just seems to be a play for attention rather than anything else.

    Instead of saying "I was talking to Mary earlier, oh, hey they just walked into the gym!" and who ever you were talking to having to say "Who is "they", you were just talking about Mary" and me saying "Mary is they" it's obviously much easier to just say "hey she just walked into the gym".

    Even if this is a bigger societal issue than I realize, isn't there a better gender neutral personal pronoun that we could come up with than "they" for a single person? How about "shim" or something?

    Is this a "thing" that is going to catch on or is this a thing where more people will be more accepting of gender as being on a continuum without requiring a single individual to be referred to as "they"?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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  3. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    that sounds a bit sexual

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    are you going to edit it ?
    you got a few typos, looks like you typed this in a hurry without editing

    why not say "mary" ?
    there is a sense of culture involved
    "normalcy" driven pronouns ? lol

    repeatedly using someones name is quit offensive.
    "ownership of the subjective scene" defines the need to own the nature of the premise which is quite modern and very self involved.
    it is the modern form of narcissism as a normalised behaviour model.

    ... nobody likes to stand out from the crowd
    ... everybody wants to know they share the same opinion
    ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Personally, I feel that people who want to be referred to as "they" have a screw loose.
    However:
    "They" does seem appropriate for people with Multiple personality disorder/Dissociative identity disorder (who also "have a screw loose")
    and most especially if the personalities represent more than one sex.
     
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  7. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    ... the "I Am" generation
    the generation prior to the millennials
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    16,509
    Hmm. Do you refuse to refer to people by their married name, rather than by their birth name? Is it self-absorbed for them to expect that society just suddenly knows they have a different name?

    Do you call someone's child "he" even though it's a she, because you couldn't figure out the gender by looking at the child? Is it self-absorbed for the parents to expect you to know?

    I think the biggest issue with nonbinary gender pronouns is that - they are _hard._ I often have trouble with them. A good friend of mine is the mother of a nonbinary child and she still screws up sometimes. Our company's diversity officer gets it wrong pretty often too. (And English isn't even the worst. Consider French, where both singular and plural pronouns have gender.)

    Of all the problems facing LGBT people, I think the "wrong pronoun" thing is the least significant. And I often get it wrong. But I still try to use the pronouns people prefer, same way I call my transgender friend "she" even though she is genetically XY, and same way I call my married/divorced friends by a different last name (in one case, by FOUR different last names over ten years.)

    To help get this info out there I added "preferred pronouns - his, him, he" to my signature. Not because I think people will mistake my preferred pronoun but because seeing that will make people think "why on earth would he say that? Do some people prefer something different?" - and get them thinking.
    Definitely agreed with the bolded word there. But "easy" doesn't always determine the right thing to do.

    Most likely, yes.
     
  9. wegs With brave wings, she flies . . . Valued Senior Member

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    ''Shim'' is actually considered to be a derogatory term often used to describe a transgender person. So, I'd recommend not using that term at all.

    I don't think most people would automatically assume that you'd know how they wish to be identified...but once you do know, not using it would be considered a sign of disrespect.

    Is there anything more to it, for you? Sometimes, we can be reluctant to change (whatever the change might be) because it taps into something within us, that we weren't expecting to feel.
     
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    5,097
    I was joking about the "shim" but not joking about a better choice than "they".

    There isn't any more to it for me than that. The confusion of using "they" as a singular pronoun and wondering if maybe this isn't a bit too self-involved. It reminds me of when everyone had to refer to Prince as "the artist formerly known as Prince".
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    16,509
    A few people have proposed "zie" "sie" and "hir" as alternatives, but I kind of hope those don't catch on. My spelling checker already gives me a hard enough time.
     
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    5,097
    How about something that denoted a neutral gender, "uni" or something other than "they"?

    The self-absorbed question that I raised was when you look like a woman, you have a boyfriend, you dress like a woman who is just not always ultra feminine and when someone says "Hey she just came in the door" and that's somehow "uncomfortable" for them?

    I get a "male" who dressed like a female, feels like a female and wants to be addressed as "she". If they are your friend and you want to respect them, that's what you would call them.

    In the 60's, for example, there was a style of clothing that most everyone wore called "uni-sex". It could really just be everyone wearing t-shirts and shorts in the summer. Today is just called casual clothes.

    Even if some people are uncomfortable with being referred to as "she" when they don't feel ultra feminine, isn't the least important part of this awareness on the part of others the personal pronoun "she"?

    It's also something that most people don't feel the need to have personalized. Should there be hundreds of personal pronouns so that we can chose to individualize all of us?

    I identify as a male but not as a cave dwelling macho man but not as an effeminate man and I like rock climbing and the outdoors more than fancy restaurants and GQ fashion styles so "he" makes me a little uncomfortable because "he" is also used to refer to those other types of "males".

    I'm thinking "clem" should be my personal pronoun. It denotes that I'm a male but that climbing is an identifying feature of my gender. "Hey everyone, I just that clem is here now".

    Another option would be for someone who isn't comfortable with binary genders to simply let everyone know, please just refer to me by my given name and don't use personal pronouns to refer to me?
     
  13. wegs With brave wings, she flies . . . Valued Senior Member

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    wow lol
     
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, that's what "zie" and the like attempt to be.
    For some people, yeah. Just as a woman who dresses like a man, has short hair etc is made uncomfortable by being called "mister."

    My wife is an MD, has short hair and is 6' tall, so she often got called "mister" by the old vets she was taking care of. Fortunately she had an easy out - "call me doctor please." Most people don't have that out. (She still got referred to as "he" when they talked to other people though.)
    ?? We do, sort of. They are called 'names.' And if it ever gets to the point where someone wants to be called something completely unique, then they can do that too. I had a friend in high school who wanted to be called "Chuck" even though his name was Cassidy. Wasn't a big deal, although it took me a while to get used to it.
    That works, too - and it's what I do when I can't keep the pronouns straight.
     
    iceaura and Seattle like this.
  15. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I think we should call people what they want to be called - to their faces. And if we're speaking in a public situation - e.g. an Internet forum, we should call them what they want to be called- i.e. we should call wegs "they" if thats what they want. But if we're speaking in private about a third person, I don't think it's any of his/her/their business what we call him/her/them. Call Mary "she" when they aren't present for the sake of clearer communication.
     
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed to all of that. I try to use the right pronouns anyway because I need the practice. If the only time you use her/his/their pronouns is when you talk directly to the person, you are going to get them all wrong.
     
  17. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, that's probably true.
     
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Call me anything you like, as long as you don't call me late for breakfast!
     
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    13,120
    This is a surprisingly insightful counter-point. Kinda wraps it up with a bow.

    Other morphing salutations are "Dr.", "Sir" (knighted), and "Father" (ordained).

    Peoples' salutations do change - that's not new - and it is societally accepted. The gender salutation is simply a new flavour of an existing convention.


    Thanks, billvon. If I wasn't sure where I stood on this issue, I am now.
     
  20. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Great film.

    If you haven't seen General Zod in drag, then have you even lived?
     
  22. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    have not.
    i shall have to note it.
     
  23. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

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    We keep it simple in my town and just refer to each other as "it."
     

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