Thursday, October 6, 2016
The singular "they" and breaking the binary
Besides being oppressive and enforcing the now proven to not be true idea that gender and sex are the same thing, people are using grammar and the english language as an excuse to not respect the pronouns of others and ultimately their identities. "They" is often use to describe multiple people, it is only used in a singular sense when discussing someone who's gender identity you do not know. We actually use the singular "they" all of the time. But when it is mixed in with a proper noun, the name of the person you are speaking about, is when it gets confusing. It seems there is no need for the singular they in this sense because you can already identify this person, but when you really think about it you can't.
Now I believe the way we use language should be they way I personally address "sexuality"/"sexual orientation". If the person has not told you their identity, you do not know it and you should not assume. If someone has brought their gender identity to your attention, you should respect that. It is like their name and it should be that simple. It is dehumanizing and disrespectful to minimize somebody's identity to your own preferred way to use words, especially when defending a language in which the words rough, dough, and cough do not even rhyme.
But let's take a shift, language is key but so is appearance. Clothing is divided by gender and how we dress often influences other people to assume our genders. BuzzFeed recently created a short video interviewing people who's personal styles "Gender-bend". One of my friends and founder of "Paint and Poetry" Mojo Disco is featured in this video as well and I appreciate it very much.