Use “they” to avoid misgendering individuals
November 30, 2016
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The 21st century has been a time of tremendous time for change in terms of progressiveness. LGBTQ pride has skyrocketed after the legalization of gay marriage in the United States in 2015 and the support of many public figures has only made nationwide acceptance of the community stronger. A greater sector of society has grown more comfortable coming out to their friends, family and other peers. However, this sense of joy and self-confidence has not completely eliminated controversy over several issues involving the LGBTQ community.
As the LGBTQ movement gains momentum and support in the United States, some people wonder what pronouns to use when referring to a person whose gender identity they do not know in order to be respectful of that person’s gender identity whilst also remaining grammatically correct. In order to be all-inclusive and respectful, some argue that people should generally use “they” and “their” when referring to a person because one cannot assume that person’s gender identity.
This applies especially to people who are gender fluid. While gender fluidity is generally accepted in the United States, some still question what pronouns to use when referring to one who does not wish to be called a boy or a girl. Some argue that the person should be referred to as “him” or “her” based on the person’s biological sex. However, this is offensive to those who do not identify with a particular sex. When referring to someone who is gender fluid, it is perfectly appropriate to reference them as “they.” Calling them “him” or “her” is not correct if they do not feel they belong to either gender.
“The use of the pronoun ‘they’ is technically incorrect when using it to refer to someone. When writing about someone who is gender fluid, it is best to communicate with the teacher to see if it is acceptable to use,” said College Preparatory English II, English II Honors, English III Honors and Advanced Placement Seminar Kathy Kreycik.
Recent years have been a welcoming time for people who have been scared to say who they truly are. In spite of grammatical correctness, calling someone “they” when they do not wish to be a “him” or a “her” only increases the amount of support and shows acceptance for people of all sexualities. Everyone deserves to be who they truly are, and society should show acceptance toward all people by referring them as their preferred gender.