Language is supposed to evolve – if it didn’t then we’d all be speaking Latin.
Pronouns are something that many people barely ever have to consider. We get them assigned from birth, based on our genitalia. It’s a creepy and, frankly, weird system. Pronouns will follow us for the rest of our lives but so many of them handed out are wrong. When someone tells you their pronoun is “they”, believe them.
Some people don’t identify within our incredibly narrow gender binaries. Agender people, genderfluid people and non-binary people may feel that “they” is their correct pronoun, or they may have what seems to be a new pronoun, such as “ze”. Many people try to hide their transphobia behind concern for the English language. They say that it’s just not proper for new words to be coined or for “they” to be used as a singular pronoun. Transphobes though are talking nonsense.
Shakespeare, that much admired playwright, coined over 1000 words. But trans people can’t go by the pronouns that fit them? Yeah, right. Language is dynamic. It’s supposed to evolve to suit our needs. Language is simply a tool we use to express ourselves. It’s their to be utilised how we want. It’s why words such as “meh”, and “yolo” have become part of every day conversations and yet they started off through online discourse.
“Language is simply a tool we use to express ourselves”
“They” has regularly been used as a singular pronoun too. It’s common courtesy that when discussing someone and unsure of their gender (or perhaps just don’t want to reveal it for whatever reason) to say “they”. In casual conversations all of the time, friends will often refer to another friend as “they”, such as “they said x”.
So often basic science, linguistics and expertise show up transphobes as gatekeepers and liars. They tell people they have knowledge, that there can only be two sexes, that “they” can’t be a singular pronoun and yet despite all of their pretentious talk, they hate facts logic. They downright despise evidence. Transphobes play by the book of Trump. They disregard facts, won’t listen to reason and then claim that they know best in their infinite wisdom.
The cost of that is that so many people are disrespected. Pronouns are so basic and so intrinsic to us that cis people cannot begin to understand the harm it is to be deliberately misgendered. Pronouns are often the first way in which we perceive someone and we don’t even realise it. More often than not, we refer to people by their pronouns than their actual name. Having pronouns respected then is a fundamental right. The words we use were created by us and so we can add new ones. Our choice is about whether to respect trans people or not.