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In fact, the accommodations we're being asked to make to nonbinary individuals are much less far-reaching than the linguistic changes that feminists called for 50 years ago.Yet the reactions this time have been even more vehement than they were back then.Linguistic history is dotted with eruptions of pronoun rage.Right now, the provocation is the gender-neutral pronouns that some nonbinary people have asked to be called by, so that they won't have to be identified as "he" or "she." There are several of these in circulation.NPR: On a recent Friday night, 30 men and 30 women gathered at a hotel restaurant in Washington, D. Their goal was love, or maybe sex, or maybe some combination of the two. The women sat at separate numbered tables while the men moved More ORF: Onlinedatings werden immer beliebter. Und es verliert zusehends das soziale Stigma, mit dem es einst versehen war”, schreiben Forscher um Harry More Scientific American: Online dating might give you something, but it’s probably not a soul mate.
"Sibling" has been part of the everyday language for more than 50 years, but we can still talk about brothers and sisters.Like the classic episodes of pronoun rage in earlier eras, these aren't about pronouns at all.University of Tennessee at Knoxville had a diversity group which was attempting to make asking for pronouns a thing. One of the conservative opinion givers popular in my city posted this relatively benign (comparatively) commentary. Also, practically speaking, it's convenient to have distinct singular and plural pronouns. The chairman of the Harvard Linguistics Department charged that they were suffering from "pronoun envy." William Safire warned that to accept the use of "they" in place of "he" would be to "cave in to the radic-lib forces of usage permissiveness." In retrospect, those reactions betrayed the obtuseness that the psychologist Cordelia Fine calls "delusions of gender." The fact is that the pronoun "he" is never gender-neutral.If Sting had sung, "If you love somebody, set him free," it would have brought only a male to mind.
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Some are new words, like "ze" and "co," but some go back a ways—in fact, people have been proposing new gender-neutral pronouns for 150 years, though none has ever caught on.