Singular "they".

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Jul 2, 2022.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    It's interesting that, while unable to address the substantive criticisms of your position that I have put to you, you're still quite willing and able to throw silly red herrings around. Way to go avoiding addressing your underlying issue!
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    It's a mistake to confuse grammatical gender with biological gender. The two are largely unrelated. "House" is grammatically feminine in French, but there's no sense in which houses can be said to be biologically female.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    This seems to be your core issue. It probably would have helped if you had made this clear initially. Probably, you're not the only one in this thread who is confused. Rather than assuming you have all the answers, or that the answers aren't important, maybe try asking some questions with an open mind. What is it about this particular topic that makes that so hard for you? Why do bring so much baggage to it? (Note: it's not just you. This attitude you have is very common, with this topic.)
    The ones who are uncomfortable with who they are are generally not the ones who will ask to be addressed as "they". Think about it.
    Gender and biological sex are interrelated, for obvious reasons. But yes, gender is largely in the mind, whereas sex is in the body.
    You see it as a medical condition - perhaps one that can be or needs to be "fixed"? Why?
    Why do you insist that a person must identify as either male or female? If you can answer that, maybe you'll start to "get" what non-binary means, and possibly start viewing it in a different light.
    Is this so hard? Gender is usually linked with biological sex. There are obvious biological differences between biological males and biological females. Language has evolved to habitually mark those biological distinctions. The problem is that language has largely ended up pigeon-holing every person into one of two boxes labelled "male" and "female". While this works just fine for the majority of people, it ignores the feelings and identity of a significant minority of the population. It is an over-simplification of a more complex reality. It's a problem because its effect is often, in the end, negatively discriminatory against the minority.
    We do! We especially have labels for women in the various states of marriage, because marriage has always been, at its root, a method to control women. Thus we label a married woman "Mrs" rather than "Miss" (and note the very recent addition of "Ms"; think about that). Women who "just live together and not get married" have traditionally been given rather more derogatory labels; I'm sure you can recall some of them. "Non-traditional" women (when it comes to marriage) have traditionally been looked down on and discriminated against.
    Why "of course not"? How can you possibly judge, without asking the person how they identify in terms of gender? You're just making an assumption that you can put them into your "male" pigeon-hole. Why do you need to do that? What if, as well as being attracted to women, the person in the male body is also attracted to males? What if the person in the male body prefers to refer to herself as a woman? Why is this a problem for you?
    A non-binary person does not identify as either "male" or "female". They do not consider themselves to fit neatly into one of the two boxes you will allow people to fit into. They reject your system of classification.

    Tell me why your system is the one we should all adopt, rather than respecting the wishes of non-binary people. What makes you King of World? What gives you the right to tell other people they must choose male or female, or (worse) that you will decide for them what box they will be in?
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Being born in a male body but feeling that they were meant to be a woman? I think the medical community sees it as a medical disorder and probably the individual affected as well. I said nothing about "fixing" it. You continually make faulty assumptions (probably intentionally) about my comments. That's your problem and not mine however.

    In your first scenario, that would be a gay person. We are talking about gender and not sexual orientation. Did you forget?

    In the second scenario, that would be a transvestite. I've said I understand a label for that and then you bizarrely reply with "why do you care" or some such off-point remark.

    That isn't an example of a non-binary gender. A man who identifies as a woman is as binary as you can get.

    This isn't my system. I didn't invent it. Excuse my manners however, I should ask, James, how do you identify?

    I'm not asking that anyone chose male or female. I'm asking why is there a need for a label for something that I wouldn't even be aware of? If you sometimes feel feminine and sometimes feel masculine, that's fine. Why would I care or need to know or even be aware of it?

    If you are upset because I haven't referred to you as "they", just let me know. I'm not a mind reader like you.
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    This would be the first ever medical disorder for which nobody wants to find a cure, then, would it?
    My bad, then. Gender-neutral pronouns are not something you see as problematic. Got it.
    At least we've clarified that distinction in your mind.
    Not necessarily. Perhaps you have some outstanding confusion.
    What's the point of your posts on gender pronouns, then? You're fine with them. You understand them and everything about them is just hunky dory with you. This is just idle chatter, then?
    I didn't say it was an example of non-binary gender. But just above you said you were confused about non-binary gender. Now, suddenly, you're the expert? When did that happen?
    You're defending it, aren't you? Or did you change your mind?
    If you really cared about manners, you'd realise that it's none of your business. Also irrelevant.
    That strikes me as very self-absorbed. Has it occurred to you that other people might care about things you're not aware of?
    You're the guy that cares about good manners, aren't you?
    Ending with an insult. Classy. Well mannered. Or not.
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    It's odd that you end with "it's none of my business" and that it's "irrelevant" as that has been the point I've been making. You insist that it's important and now it's "irrelevant" and "none of my business". Curious logic.

    Regarding transvestitism being a medical disorder that no one wants to fix, many affected do want to "fix" it with gender affirming surgery. You really should be better informed in this area if you are going to be so vocal about it, otherwise you run the risk of looking silly.

    Also, could you point out what the "insult" was that you claim I made? Asking if "they" is your personal pronoun is an insult? How enlightened.

    Let me guess, the next card you'll play is calling me a "troll". How is Magical Realist either a "troll" or a "fool". We both know that he is neither. He certainly has a different "world view" than most of us here but there is nothing troll-like (or fool-like) about Magical Realist.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2022
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Either you missed some content there, or you're playing dumb.

    I told you that my personal gender identity is irrelevant to this discussion we've been having (if we can call it that, since you've ignored most of the substance). I told you that my personal gender identity is none of your business.

    You're making a weak attempt to twist that around to try to imply that I agree with you that ... what? ... gender-neutral pronouns are unimportant, irrelevant or none of your business? That's nothing like what I've been telling you, and I suspect you're fully aware of that. Which only leaves me to ponder why you want to play dumb here. I can think of a few possible reasons, but don't get me wrong: I'm not really that interested at this point. Talking to yet another dishonest interlocutor gets old rather quickly.
    "Transvestitism"? I don't think you're keeping up with the discussion. You seem to confuse sex, gender, identity and presentation, all of which are distinguishable and can vary.
    Insult failed, so now you're going to try condescending? Really? Is this the best you can be?
    It was insulting to me to imply that I think I can read minds. It was insulting to non-binary people in general that you assumed you could insult me by implying that I might be non-binary. You are missing a lot of important things. When you dismiss people's identities as unimportant and unworthy of your respect, that makes you a bad person. You could try to do better.
    Still playing dumb?
    I don't know whether you've quite sunk to that level yet, but it sure looks like you've surrendered the high ground and are heading down. It's not too late to stop.
    I've explained in some detail. Please read the last 20 pages or so of the UAP/UFO thread. Then you'll have some relevant context.
    Speak for yourself. How do you know that?
    I disagree.
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Sorry, no.
    Dressing in clothes of the opposite sex is orthogonal to (i.e. independent of) gender identity.
    Transvestites, for the large part, identify as cis-gender (i.e. males identify as males, etc.). They just like to wear clothes of the opposite gender.

    The term has fallen out of use because of so many misunderstandings, as those who assigned the label did not understand that it has little to do with orientation - and assumed all transvestites are also gay and/or transgendered.

    The community self-adopted the term "cross-dresser", and shook off the baggage that had to do with gender identity and orientation.
  12. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    • Please do not insult other members.
    Hmm. Some vague parable (or whatever) tentatively scurries across the plane of memory. Not sure why, very inexplicable, can't fathom the correlation, surely a random burp from the retentive depths below.

    - - - - - - -

    -- Monday --

    EVANGELICAL STREET PREACHER: "You people are sinners that are going to hell!"

    PASSER-BY: "According to what?"

    STREET PREACHER: "According to the Bible."

    PASSER-BY: "If your religious cult has standards requiring you to be manipulated by opportunistic priests and to dance to the tune of revelatory swindlers, then that's your business. But your standards and their judgements are not mine."

    -- Wednesday --

    LEFTANGELICAL STREET CRUSADER: "You people smack of intolerance!"

    PASSER-BY: If your ideological cult has standards requiring you to be manipulated by opportunistic cranks and to dance to the tune of philosophical swindlers, then that's your business. But your standards and their judgements are not mine."

    LEFTANGELICAL STREET CRUSADER: (Utters twenty pages worth of pseudo-intellectual gibberish by rote.)

    PASSER-BY: However, I don't give a flip. IOW, piss off you pretentious, self-righteous twit. Fart revered adages from your our offshoot, postmodern coloring book on a soapbox in front of similarly affected, hollow individuals who stroke each other till they feel ripe with moral rectitude.
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I should have used the word "transgender".
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    What a delightful person you turned out to be. I will avoid trying to engage you in future.
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  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Moderator note: C C has been warned for insulting another member.
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Indeed it is a nuanced subject, hard to keep up on. I habitually have a search tab open to verify my own understandings.

    Another very good reason why we should be leaving gender-fluid and non-binary terminology to those most experienced with it. Us cis-heteros aren't really qualified.
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    My only real grip was that I wasn't consulted when someone voted on "cis-heteros" as my label.

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  18. mathman Valued Senior Member

    My original question was grammatical. Unfortunately it has turned into a biology discussion.
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    How is it unfortunate? Was your grammatical question not fully addressed?
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Agree. I'd say it was fortunate in that it provided an opportunity to shed some light on this poorly-understood area of culture, and went well beyond the mere grammatical ambiguity.
    I know I sure learned a lot.

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