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Thread: Sam Smith on his gender fluidity: ‘I feel just as much woman as I am man’

  1. #61
    Elite Member SHELLEE's Avatar
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    I call my transgender 21 yo nephew HE even though I’ve know him as Mary his whole life. I don’t think that I could call him they/ them if he asked. I just can’t get past the grammar. Why did being “woke” become more important than grammar?
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  2. #62
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    The singular they has been around since he 14th century. It wasn’t until the 19th that it was discouraged as “incorrect”. I still think it’s easier to adopt a new usage for a word that already exists than to try to get a new pronoun to become widely accepted and used *shrugs*

    this is just an excerpt but the Wikipedia article for singular they is pretty interesting.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

    Singular they is the use in English of the pronoun they or its inflected or derivative forms, them, their, theirs, and themselves (or themself), as an epicene (gender-neutral) singular pronoun. It typically occurs with an unspecified antecedent, as in sentences such as:
    • "Somebody left their umbrella in the office. Would they please collect it?"[1]
    • "The patient should be told at the outset how much they will be required to pay."[2]
    • "But a journalist should not be forced to reveal their sources."[2]

    The singular they had emerged by the 14th century,[3] about a century after plural they. It has been commonly employed in everyday English ever since then, and has gained currency in official contexts, though it has been strongly criticized at least since the late-19th century by prescriptive experts as they deem it to be an "error".[4][5][6][7] Its use in modern standard English has become more common and accepted with the trend toward gender-neutral language,[5][8][6] though most style guides continue to proscribe it, considering it colloquial and less appropriate in formal writing.[6][9][10] Some recent references, however, sanction this usage as appropriate not only in conversational registers of standard English, but also in official or literary usage.[11]
    In the early 21st century, use of singular theywith known individuals has been promoted for those who do not identify as male or female.[12][13]

    • "This is my friend, Jay. I met them at work. They are a talented artist."


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  3. #63
    Elite Member SHELLEE's Avatar
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    ^^How much research did you do on this subject, or did you already know it?
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  4. #64
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    I already knew quite a bit because I’m a multilingual nerd and I’m fascinated by how languages evolve. I’ve also had this discussion before, not just about how to deal with non-binary people in English but also in Spanish and french which are a lot more gendered than English is. In English if something is red it doesn’t matter if it’s feminine, masculine or plural, you say red. In Spanish you say “roja”, “rojo”, “rojos”, “rojas” depending on what you’re describing and there would be a lot more sufficed and prefixes and pronouns to add to the language to make it inclusive so if anything you guys have less work to do in English than most romance languages.

    People tend to think language is a lot more static than it is, and will resist changes that require a deliberate effort on their part regardless of how small, but really it’s constantly evolving. And English is actually more adaptable than Spanish or french.
    Last edited by sputnik; September 17th, 2019 at 09:51 PM.
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    Folks (or folx, as some prefer) who identify at points elsewhere than either end of the gender-binary spectrum have attempted to introduce alternative pronouns—ze/zyr/hir, etc.—for a very long time, but none of those alternatives have ever made any significant inroads into accepted usage the way that they/them/their has been able to. It's not for lack of trying on their part, so much as the English language is wonderfully adaptive/fluid in some ways, and incredibly stiff/resistant-to-change in others.

    There's a good thread on Quora in response to the question: "Why is it taking so long to come to a consensus for a gender-neutral pronoun in English?"

    https://www.quora.com/Why-is-it-taki...oun-in-English

    My apologies, but I can't get the responses at the link to transfer without creating a formatting mess.

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    Elite Member lindsaywhit's Avatar
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    That's really interesting, Sput. I mean, when you put it like that, it makes perfect sense.

    Thanks for the link, flummoxed.
    flummoxed and sputnik like this.


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    Supercool and timely news—Merriam-Webster just added "they" as a non-binary pronoun as one of four definitions of the word.

    (And based on their ever-excellent Trump trolling, I think M-W is the bees damn knees.)

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    The singular they has been around since he 14th century. It wasn’t until the 19th that it was discouraged as “incorrect”. I still think it’s easier to adopt a new usage for a word that already exists than to try to get a new pronoun to become widely accepted and used *shrugs*

    this is just an excerpt but the Wikipedia article for singular they is pretty interesting.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

    Singular they is the use in English of the pronoun they or its inflected or derivative forms, them, their, theirs, and themselves (or themself), as an epicene (gender-neutral) singular pronoun. It typically occurs with an unspecified antecedent, as in sentences such as:
    • "Somebody left their umbrella in the office. Would they please collect it?"[1]
    • "The patient should be told at the outset how much they will be required to pay."[2]
    • "But a journalist should not be forced to reveal their sources."[2]

    The singular they had emerged by the 14th century,[3] about a century after plural they. It has been commonly employed in everyday English ever since then, and has gained currency in official contexts, though it has been strongly criticized at least since the late-19th century by prescriptive experts as they deem it to be an "error".[4][5][6][7] Its use in modern standard English has become more common and accepted with the trend toward gender-neutral language,[5][8][6] though most style guides continue to proscribe it, considering it colloquial and less appropriate in formal writing.[6][9][10] Some recent references, however, sanction this usage as appropriate not only in conversational registers of standard English, but also in official or literary usage.[11]
    In the early 21st century, use of singular theywith known individuals has been promoted for those who do not identify as male or female.[12][13]

    • "This is my friend, Jay. I met them at work. They are a talented artist."


    I've always used singular they to talk about people whose gender I didn't know, I remember discussing it with my research advisor (very dignified Irish gentleman ) for whom it was confusing, because to him "they" meant plural, though he knew that use of "they" was correct.
    Funny enough, my French students never had a problem understanding the singular gender-neutral "they"

    And I don't know if it's the having studied languages and speaking several on a daily basis, but I really don't get the "it's confusing"
    Sure, one sentence taken out of context can be confusing (ex: "I met them yesterday") but usually you do have a context that lets you know if it's one or 2 people. And in any case, it can't be more confusing that "plus" in French, that can either mean "more" or "not anymore", depending on whether or not we pronounce the "s" ... and some regions pronounce it all the time
    *that is super confusing, is there more milk in the fridge or not any left, come ooooooooon !*

    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    I already knew quite a bit because I’m a multilingual nerd and I’m fascinated by how languages evolve. I’ve also had this discussion before, not just about how to deal with non-binary people in English but also in Spanish and french which are a lot more gendered than English is. In English if something is red it doesn’t matter if it’s feminine, masculine or plural, you say red. In Spanish you say “roja”, “rojo”, “rojos”, “rojas” depending on what you’re describing and there would be a lot more sufficed and prefixes and pronouns to add to the language to make it inclusive so if anything you guys have less work to do in English than most romance languages.

    People tend to think language is a lot more static than it is, and will resist changes that require a deliberate effort on their part regardless of how small, but really it’s constantly evolving. And English is actually more adaptable than Spanish or french.
    French is a nightmare.
    And the language makes it super difficult to have that kind of debate because all of a sudden everybody becomes obsessed with grammar, completely ignoring the fact that the grammar we deem "correct" today was not correct even 50 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sleuth View Post
    I’ll probably just say Sam since “their”, “they” or “them” implies more than one person. It confuses the context of a sentence and changes the meaning entirely.

    I guess my thoughts are you are born as a male (with a penis) why can’t you still be addressed as a “he” and still enjoy all the things that you have stereotyped as being female without slapping a label on it? Does Sam believe that wearing heels and makeup is what being a woman is all about? I’m sorry if I’m being rude but it feels like that actually perpetuates gender stereotypes.
    It's actually not that simple, for non binary people, "feeling" like a woman is not about wearing heels and make up, that *can* be part of expressing their femininity, but with or without the heels, they feel like a woman anyway, and a man also, or neither.
    The video posted by Lalasnake explained it very well, and if that's difficult to grasp it's precisely because our brain just is or isn't wired that way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by flummoxed View Post
    Supercool and timely news—Merriam-Webster just added "they" as a non-binary pronoun as one of four definitions of the word.

    (And based on their ever-excellent Trump trolling, I think M-W is the bees damn knees.)
    Thank you Merriam-Webster. Still going to be confusing, but if the peeps there declare it to be so... I guess M-W is the grammar board of directors I was looking for
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    That Ted Talk video Lala posted is definitely worth watching.
    flummoxed and Lalasnake like this.

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  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by czb View Post
    still human but i still don't like their music. so it is unlikely i will ever refer to them outside of this thread.

    *shrugs*
    Exactly. Can we get back to how annoying Sam is?
    Kittylady likes this.
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  12. #72
    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    They is annoying indeed.
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  13. #73
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    Bitch is a good enough pronoun. I intend to use it liberally.
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  14. #74
    Elite Member Charmed Hour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleuth View Post
    I’ll probably just say Sam since “their”, “they” or “them” implies more than one person. It confuses the context of a sentence and changes the meaning entirely.

    I guess my thoughts are you are born as a male (with a penis) why can’t you still be addressed as a “he” and still enjoy all the things that you have stereotyped as being female without slapping a label on it? Does Sam believe that wearing heels and makeup is what being a woman is all about? I’m sorry if I’m being rude but it feels like that actually perpetuates gender stereotypes.
    Quote Originally Posted by CornFlakegrl View Post
    ^^ I've often had the same thought. You feel like a woman because you like to wear make up? Well that's a social construct and has nothing to do with being a woman.

    A girl has a vagina / xx chromosome and a boy has a penis / xy chromosome. It's science and it's just a label for organization and clarity. I truly don't understand how one can be offended by it. Be whomever or whatever you want to be. Wear what you want to wear. Love who you want to love. But now we have to pretend we don't know science AND destroy grammar? I'm not feeling it.

    But I'll call you whatever you want, Sam.
    There is a large different between sex and gender.

    https://www.plannedparenthood.org/le...ender-identity
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  15. #75
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    ^Also, transvestite =/= transgender.
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