Personal Pronouns

Fiona - posted on 05/22/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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having been reading the Thomas Beatty thread a lot of people referred to him as 'it' i assume because they are unsure of what pronoun to use, so i wonder, does the English language need more personal pronouns?

my particular thoughts on the matter is it would be something long over due, we only have the masculine and feminine pronouns, nothing to describe someone who is either transgender, asexual etc. well not in main stream society at any rate.

so what do you guys think?

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Krista - posted on 05/22/2010

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Actually, I do think it would be great to have a personal pronoun that doesn't indicate gender. When I was pregnant and didn't know the gender, it was damn tiresome to always be saying "he or she". And if you say "it", a lot of people freak out and get offended, because they think of an "it" as an object, not a person.

So it would be fantastic to to have a completely gender-neutral personal pronoun, but for a different reason than what Fiona thinks.

As far as people who are transgendered or hermaphroditic, I say, call them whatever gender they identify as and wish to be called. So if someone is transgendered and self-identifies as a woman, then I don't care what is between her legs. I will refer to her as "her" and "she", just out of a basic respect of that person's right to be called whichever pronoun she wishes.

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Caitlin - posted on 05/23/2010

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I didn't find out with my first, and I called her "the baby" or "him" the whole time.. Not that I was convinced it was a boy, I had no idea to be honest, but it seemed easier that way.. As for gender neutral terms, other lanuguages have them, like german, but ours doesn't and I don't see why we should add one..

Christa - posted on 05/23/2010

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I used to call my babies (I don't like to find out until the birth) they. I didn't want to call them it and if I picked he/she then people assumed I knew. So I would say they/them and then people would assume I was having multiples. You can't win. lol!

Jodi - posted on 05/23/2010

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You are right Cathy, thinking back, they always refer to it as "the baby".

**runs and hides because I just called the baby "it"**

Isobel - posted on 05/22/2010

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haha...I called Eve "it" all the way through the pregnancy...then I called Quentin "her" or "she" hahahahahahahahaha

Fiona - posted on 05/22/2010

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you guys have some good points, especially about when you don't know a babies gender. i know when i found out i was pregnant (half way through it at that) that the use of the pronoun it to refer to my baby meant it took me a lot longer to come to terms with the pregnancy. in regards to adults i'm not talking hermaphrodites, who generally strongly associate with one of the genders, i'm talking about asexual people, these people identify with both genders. i have a friend who is partway through the transition to the female gender, weve discussed her gender identity and she feels that had she been born female, shed have been a tomboy and probably later have transitioned to male. there are people out there who are gender neutral, and our pronouns just don't cover enough of that spectrum.

Jodi - posted on 05/22/2010

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Krista, the person who got her panties in a knot in that thread (and who started that thread) also had a fit about people trying to guess the sex of her baby and then got her panties in a knot when people were telling her to just chill out about it. I mean really, some people need to get a hobby or something.

Personally, I don't see what is so offensive about the term "it". If the term her or she can't be applied, then I've always considered the term "it" should be used. Or we could just start applying male and female personal pronouns to our inanimate objects like some languages and throw "it" out the window altogether :)

ME - posted on 05/22/2010

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In the academy, we simply use the pronouns "he" and "she" interchangably...it doesn't really matter which you use...some people still use "he or she" or "he and she" both together...I don't think it matters that much, as long as what you are writing isn't blatantly sexist....

Krista - posted on 05/22/2010

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Technically, "it" IS a gender-neutral way to refer to someone. But for some strange reason, a lot of people feel that the word "it" is dehumanizing. On the welcome page, there was this HUGELY contentious thread about that very thing -- calling an unborn baby "it" if you didn't know the gender. And a lot of people were seriously, seriously offended at the very idea of calling the child "it".

That's why I'm suggesting that perhaps some other word needs to be created -- one that is used solely for referring to people, and is not also used for inanimate objects.

La - posted on 05/22/2010

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I thought "it" or "they" were the gender neutral ways to refer to someone...no I don't think we should make new words for certain situations. If Tom Beatty doesn't want to be referred to as "it" then "he/she" should pick a gender and stick to it.

Christa - posted on 05/22/2010

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No. We need to stop catering to people. She is a woman and always will be. If she really wanted to be a man she wouldn't have gotten pregnant and then gone on national television about it. If you are going to have a sex change, then do it. And do it so people now see you as that sex, if that is who you think you should be. We don't need to make up new words to deal with people who are seriously disturbed.

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