Get Inspired, Be Empowered Forums Gender Justice The need to incorporate gender neutral (or gender inclusive) pronouns in every day speech and writing.

12 replies, 11 voices Last updated by PALAK KASHIV 2 years, 11 months ago
  • Woospire
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    Yash Tiwari
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    @yash
    #31890
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    The idea of gender-neutral pronouns has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until my friend and I started discussing non-binary folks that I realized just how important pronouns are. There are only three gender-neutral pronouns in the English language: they/them/their. These are the only words that can be used to refer to those who identify as anything other than male or female. The non-binary community identifies as space outside of the cisgender and transgender binary, and they use non-gendered pronouns. When I first began speaking with non-binary students about their pronouns, I was uninformed about how to be respectful of their needs.

    Pronouns matter because they give marginalized groups political power. The he/she dichotomy does not acknowledge that there are more than two genders, which in itself is a problem. But, even if you only subscribe to the binary idea of gender, by constantly using singular pronouns to talk about people you’re almost subconsciously telling them that they do not matter and their life experiences are trivialized. One way to think about this is that using a non-gendered pronoun is the politest, most respectful version of asking a person their pronouns. Using a gendered pronoun implies you already know someone’s gender without even bothering to ask them what it is. It disregards how they view themselves. Many people don’t know what it means to be genderqueer or non-binary. They might assume you’re a woman if you look feminine, or a man if you look masculine. Although someone’s external appearance can be an indicator of their gender identity, it shouldn’t be the only one.

    A common misconception is that non-binary denotes a binary gender. Using this word in place of other gendered pronouns allows people who do identify as non-binary to not feel excluded. A language is a powerful tool, and it is our responsibility to use it wisely. As with using any tool, the best way to learn how to use it is to practice. This means that, if you want to be a good example for your child in this way or just naturally integrate more gender-neutral language into your everyday communication, try at least once a day to replace the pronouns he or she with they, him or her, and him/her. A lot of people think gender-neutral (or gender-inclusive) pronouns are new to the English language and the result of a modern-day interpretation of language. The truth is the opposite. There have been different versions of English for much longer than we have had written records, and those older forms of spoken English reflected gender equality.

    nehachitroda
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    @nehachitroda
    #31897
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    Gender-neutral pronouns are words that are used neutrally and one gender is not addressed or a single male or female is not addressed, it has been observed that we tend to call people as He or She because it’s a common practice to use he/him for male and her/she for female but it can be improved by us.
    If we use that pronoun, it won’t affect any gender, but if we use the commonly used word he and she, it would somewhere affect transgenders and it would make them feel excluded from humans or genders. There are many words which point out gender may it daily used or pointing human. For e.g., in school students are addressed as ‘boys and girls it can be done another way as ‘students’. We should try to replace the gender-specific words with neutral words like Everybody, All of you, Everyone, etc.
    It doesn’t mean if transgender is not around us and so we can use gender terms to call, but if they are not around then also, we should practice speaking and using the words which will make each person as equal. There are many used words in day-to-day speech like man, women which can be addressed as humans; wife and husband can be replaced by partner, salesman which we often speak it but can be improved by salesperson, etc.
    So there is a need for us to start something which is still not started by many, but if it is started using this gender-neutral word all around us and with us, will practice and implement it in daily speech and writing.

    Anika
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    @anika
    #31903
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    Although this might be puzzling to some, some people use gender neutral pronouns such as they/them because they aren’t comfortable using the regular gendered pronouns such as she or he. Many might criticize this saying that it’s wrong to use gender neutral pronouns in the singular pronoun because they think it sounds grammatically incorrect. They couldn’t be more wrong. Some lines in The Canterbury Tales use they as a singular pronoun: they use whoso which means whoever which denotes that it could stand for anyone, so it’s a gender neutral pronoun.
    The use of gender neutral pronouns should be normalized. You do not know what a person identifies as. So, to be on the safe side, you should use gender neutral pronouns.
    According to the dictionary, Non-binary gender is an umbrella term to describe any gender identity that does not fit into the gender binary of male and female.
    There is a misconception that only non-binary or transgender people use gender neutral pronouns. Many cisgender people use them. Pronouns do not equate gender. People will use the pronouns they are comfortable with.
    You should also understand that not all non-binary or transgender people use gender neutral pronouns. They use the pronouns they are comfortable with. Just because they use their preferred pronouns doesn’t mean they’re any less valid.
    Neopronouns are also used as gender neutral pronouns. They also have been used before and is not a new concept. Thon which stands for that one was a gender neutral pronoun created by Charles Crozat Converse in 1884. Some examples of neopronouns are xe/xem, e/em and ze/zir.
    We need to understand that some are not comfortable with the gendered pronouns as they might not feel that reflects their gender identity or gender expression or they’re simple more comfortable with gender neutral pronouns. If we understand just how easier it is to use gender neutral pronouns on people, gender neutral pronouns can be more normalized and anyone can use it if they are comfortable with it.

    Mayuravarshini Mohana
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    @mayura
    #31964
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    Gender, in feminist discourses, is often perceived as socially constructed i.e., the value and credit accorded to gender holds true only when socially situated. The plebeian understanding of gender as a concrete identity problematizes unique individual expressions. Gender is in fact not an identity but a pattern of behaviour and thinking. Beauvoir’s famous statement ‘One is not born a woman but becomes one’ clarifies that women, and by extension men, are not essential beings. They are expressions of societal expectations (a ‘womanly’ woman and a ‘manly’ man) that come along with strait-jacketed gender categories.

    Considering gender as a social construction lifts its absolutism and permits a freer expression of gender and gender fluidity. Gender is not a binary but a spectrum, contrary to what we’ve been conditioned to believe. Our society and education system exhibit rigidity in its conception of gender and this cultivates in most of us, intolerance towards those who defy the normative. We comprehend this resistance by labelling it as abnormal, weird and defiant.

    Language plays an important role in our perception of identities. In fact, our language determines the way we organise and understand the world. The ‘world’ in question is a product of our language and right now, it is predominantly gender-exclusive. Right from the day we learn to speak, our minds condition themselves to the gender- binary. There are a lot of people who identify as agender (having no gender), bigender (both man and woman) and non-binary (not conforming to the man or woman). Restricting our usage of English pronouns to he/she is an act of oppression. It otherises persons who do not identify as man or woman, making them feel excluded and unacknowledged. Therefore, there is a growing insistence on the usage of gender inclusive pronouns.

    Gender-inclusive pronouns are all about avoiding misgendering. A person’s gender should not be assumed based on their clothing or behaviour and imposed on them, especially through our language. Instead, it is best to ask a person’s preferred pronoun and use it. Most often, people add it to their bio description on their social media handles. For instance, not all intersex people and trans people identifying as man prefer the pronoun ‘he’. Some may prefer being referred to using their first name instead of a gendered pronoun. People who identify as non-binary, like Demi Levato who came out recently, often prefer they/them. Sometimes zie/hir (pronounced as zee and here) is the preference. Example, zie bought a skateboard with hir new credit card.

    Remember, using gender-neutral language instead of preferred pronoun may make people feel unacknowledged and invalidated. It is also extremely important to not restrict the usage just to discourses/discussion on gender fluidity. It must be extended to everyday usage such as emails, news reporting, diary entry, chats etc. to build a prejudice free inclusive world.

    simran arora
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    @simran
    #31969
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    The process of unlearning is the most challenging equilibrium in society. Since childhood, school taught us that anyone who does not identify as s/he must be identified as they/them/their. It is an approach which the previous generations did not question. None of us ever thought of the need to use pronouns as per one’s gender. This way, the society or institutions ensured the gender-biased balance.

    You might have noticed that, sometimes, the writer uses he/him first that she/her pronouns, irrespective of knowing the gender. Using inclusive gender pronouns can maintain a balance in grammar and can make identification easier without offending anyone. Also, one can use alternate gender pronouns; it means using masculine and feminine pronouns at an equal ratio. Another method could be considering using singular pronouns as plural, or vice versa, depending upon the situation.

    The idea of incorporating gender-inclusive or gender-neutral pronouns is to remove the barrier of gender inequality. One should be free to use pronouns as per their requirement. The modern English language does not provide solutions for gender equality, but the Old English did.

    Anyhow, using such pronouns can unite people without a cliche difference between them. As a content creator, I look up to various people who use he/him or she/her pronouns irrespective of their gender or sex. And there is nothing wrong with it. Acceptance is yet a dream, but we can take the first step by helping the children at a very tender age to identity pronouns not based on gender. It is illogical and gender-biased.

    anshika agarwal
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    @anshika-2
    #32079
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    There is a need to incorporate gender neutral or gender inclusive pronouns in everyday speecha nd writing. People use a lot of words that are gendered which can hurts others.
    Gender’s deep roots in our language in the form of pronouns, nouns, possessives, phrases etc never seen by people. They don’t think how gender in speech can triggered many. Does anyone ever noticed how gendered their day to day conversations are? People should try to use gender neutral pronouns to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Gender-neutral language demonstrates inclusion for people who do not identify with the stereotypical gender binary. It also ensures that you don’t dredge up potentially harmful memories for people through incorrect language usage. People have a limited education in terms of sex, gender and their preferences. People love not to be in gendered system. Avoid using he or she for person because it’s known all the time that the person standing infront of us is non-binary or not. Many languages don’t have such pronouns. So, in that situation it’s better to take person’s name. People should take care of the words they spoken. If anybody is not recognized like their gender they will definitely feels uncomfortable.
    Gender neutral words needs priority in society. It is an essential thing. Everyone should start it from their daily life. They should first think without speaking or writing anything.

    shaifalikapoor03
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    @shaifalikapoor03
    #32083
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    Gender Equality, an illusion in the current society. It’s a long hard way of attaining a world with equal treatment for all. Almost everything in this world is responsible for the gender inequality that exists around. It’s prevailing in the world since hundreds of years and it is not been able to abolish yet. To achieve the aim of a gender equal society, alot of things needs to be changed. Gender discrimination, men domination etc. But one of the most important thing that is leading to inequality in the society is the balance among the genders. People have created it so difficult for people to understand men, women and other genders as equals.
    The strange factor effecting equality among people is the use of pronouns. In the prevailing societal situation, the need of gender neutral pronouns is so much in need that it could be a factor which could really bring inequality down.
    Bringing upon some gender neutral pronouns in everyday speech is a really important today. Using gender neutral words instead of he or she would be a great initiative to start with equality.
    Also, the people other then men or women have a complete right to be treated equally, and by far, no pronoun has been used to address them, why do they need to go through such embarassment when they can be simply called using some gender neutral pronouns that would make them feel significant in the society.

    Semantee Chattopadhyay
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    @semantee03
    #32210
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    A student must always try their best, or his or her best? Mailman, policeman, businessman? Is there a problem with using these words? Do we still use the words man or mankind to refer to people in general? The way we usually speak is old-fashioned or sexist and needs to be changed. We have to keep a check on how we speak. Do the words we use support gender equality and inclusion? Or do they reflect and reinforce a history of excluding women from privilege and power?
    Language is always changing. So what we used to say 50 years ago is not the same as we do now. This is generally about professions that used to be filled with men but now they are also filled with women. Due to these changes in society and the status of women, we are using different ways and different grammar to talk about men and women. ‘Mankind’, ‘chairman’, ‘man made’, ‘fellow’ are some of the male-centred words. There is a perpetual association of male terms with power and strength, and women female terms with insult and with weakness. When we use female words to insult people, we communicate a pretty disturbing message. Does this shape our expectations for men and women, or even our self and self-worth? People sometimes feel excluded even if they know that it wasn’t the speaker’s intention. Many women do feel included by these terms and that’s entirely understandable. Women are conditioned to be this way. When we use male based generics, we erase women linguistically, symbolically we annihilate them. A visionary Marilyn Frye imagines all of the gender inequality as a birdcage that tarps women inside. Everyone has the power to break the sexist language, its entirety within our control. Language is a choice that we make constantly and it should be used wisely.

    Manpreet Singh
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    @manpreet
    #33246
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    These continuous references to the male and female binary groups might be alienating for those who do not fit into the male or female categories. These continuous gender reminders may have an effect even on persons who identify themselves as male or female. The continuous division into men and women can make us see men and women as more different than we are. While English may be less sexual than some languages, many gendered connotations nevertheless exist. A couple of nice locations to start with for people who try to be more sensitive to sex in their everyday language.
    By its appearance, you can’t always guess what a favorite pronoun is. Asking and using pronouns correctly is a manner of showing respect for the identity of people. Schreiber adds that the singular “they” catch on individuals who don’t identify as either male or female. So is it okay to say that “they are” or “they are?” When do we refer to a person? Merriam-Webster advises “they are,” probably because this is the way we speak and hear the most comfortably. While it is easy to include “they” in your day-to-day speech, many additional gender-neutral pronouns may be adopted including “zie” and “sie.” The gender-neutral “Mx” serves as a title for those who are not gendered or for people who are just unwilling to be defined by gender. The labels we assign to members of the family, Mother, Dad, Brother, Aunt, and Sister are all gender, similar to the pronouns and titles. When talking of romantic relationships, gender-neutral terminology such as partner and spouse can be replaced, and siblings, children, and parents are equally gender-neutral. It will take considerable work to get away from a binary gender perspective. There is an agreement among two or more English speakers that they will use the same code to communicate in English. And there is not no communication if one of them refuses to use that code. We must all be aware that everyone does not identify as a male or female language, and agree to utilize it.

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