How do we identify ourselves?
Recent years have seen the emergence of new terms, and some already used terms reimagined, as ways to identify a person's gender.
He/Him and She/Her are no longer the only gender pronouns at the proverbial table. Increasingly, the singular ‘They/them’ is used for gender-neutral persons who don’t identify as ‘male’ or ‘female’.
The singular use of the word 'they' is common knowledge and is now used, in some spheres, as an identification for, and a, non-binary. As recent as 2019, Merriam Webster named 'they' as their word of the year.
Mainstream artists like Sam Smith have helped in bringing the identification to a wider audience.
However, gender-neutral, or gender non-confirming, pronouns go past the widespread they/them/theirs.
They are called neopronouns ('neo' meaning new) and this is a short guide to those identifications.
neopronouns can be used by anyone, but are usually used by transgender, non-binary, and/or gender-neutral persons.
Here are some of the well-known neopronouns:
Let's go through each set and see how they're used (just a small jaunt into the year six grammar textbook)
The first of the five in each bullet, the Ne, for example, in the first bullet; is the subject noun, 'Ne laughed'.
The second in the second bullet, ver, is the object noun, 'I called ver'.
'Eir eyes gleam'
is a example of a neopronoun used as a possessive adjective.
The fourth bullet gives us hirs as the possessive pronoun, 'That is hirs'.
Whilst the fifth set shows Zirself as the reflexive pronoun, 'Ze likes zirself'
The sixth set of neopronouns, that begins with the subject noun, Xe, can be used depending on the structure of the sentence; as seen with the other sets above.
Said Mahatma Gandhi.
For those unfamiliar with these pronouns, it can be daunting to ask. How to use, pronounce, and correctly identify the persons chosen identification.
The best way?
Is to ask.
Ask questions like "I heard you use 'ze/zir' pronouns and want to make sure I'm using them correctly. Can you help me?"
Or "Which is the right way to say your pronouns".
Or, has Jonathan Van Ness puts it:
"It's totally OK to ask",
Neopronouns take time to learn; so don't be afraid if a person identifies as a pronoun you're not familiar with - it's just another way for a human-being to be comfortable.
It isn't a way to strike-out, it's a way to strike-in.
The neopronoun is similar to the traditional gender specific roles of 'male' and 'female' in the aspect that it helps, comforts and identifies the person using them.
"That's language I didn't have until I was in my 30's. So, it's normal that people don't know" ,Jonathan Van Ness
neopronouns are being added to, changed, discovered every day. So, if there are any pronouns you wish to talk about, please make us aware with a comment.