Intersexual/gender-neutral pronouns

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Tue Dec 4 08:10:12 UTC 2007

Thank you for that. I think I need to refer to this to the outil list as
well. They will not work in this case as I have problems like "Dr.
Thomas entered and then s/he said..." BB

James Harbeck wrote:
>> Is there a consensus today on a pronoun to use for someone who takes
>> both (or neither sex), or for someone whose sex you don't know?
> Well, the professional editors I know will rewrite or use "they" and
> "them" judiciously. The singular "they" is increasingly accepted, to
> the point that even many of the more prescriptivist members of the
> Editors' Association of Canada (a group whose members are rather more
> pragmatic than dogmatic in general) will countenance it in some
> circumstances to avoid awkward locutions.
>> says, "The two most popular
>> seem to be 'sie, hir, hir, hirs, hirself', (especially 'hir'), and 'zie,
> zir, zir, zirs, zirself'."
> Uh. Well, I guess "popular" is relative. Those are new to me.
> I am watching the gradual development of this issue with fascination,
> because singular "they" clearly presents some problems. But I have
> yet to see any clear trend towards use of an artificially created
> form (this is within my own world of editing, reading, and discourse,
> not on the basis of corpus research). Perhaps if someone were to name
> a magazine after one it would catch on.
> What I _will_ do is pass the question on to a friend who might know
> if anything is being used in transsexual circles, in which he travels
> much more widely than I. When we talk about the one transsexual
> friend he and I have in common, we avoid pronouns altogether and
> refer to the person by name -- easy, since j's name is j. (That's
> short for a name that j no longer goes by.)

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