On gender neutral pronouns

They suck.


Now, I don’t mean that as any disrespect for those who use them, either for gender neutrality towards those with genders they don’t know, or as personal pronouns for themselves. I actually have a ton of respect for those people because they are seriously necessary for any acceptance of nonbinarism to happen, and I also envy those nonbinary people  who feel comfortable using the typically accepted gender neutral pronouns because… they have typically accepted pronouns (and I do not).

But the words themselves. The words suck. And that is why I alternate she/he pronouns, because I like that better, even if it leads to confusion. 

And, now, part of that is just me. I hate a lot of words and think that they suck for no reason. For example, the word chair is fucking awful. So my opinion is… not the best.

But besides my random hate of random words, gender neutral pronouns (or at least the common ones) are terrible. Because they’re terrible at their job.

The most common pronouns are Ze/Hir, and they are my least favorite save for Humanist, and nobody uses Humanist because everyone agrees that it is awful.


The thing about Hir? Pronounce it. Either you’re winding up with “her”, or you’re forcing your mouth into making a heeer sound on a part of speech that is usually pronounced effortlessly… which leads into people just saying “her”, whether intentionally, or because they don’t know the pronunciation, or because their words are slurring into that because keeping yourself from doing so is hard.

But aside from that, Hir also just makes me sad because it looks like you took him and her and threw them in a blender and called it neutral. And I don’t like my gender being equated with a haphazard slurring together of the binary genders. Which makes it feel like they’re considered the “real”  genders. And that’s insulting to someone who at least considers himself to kind of be a slurring together of binary genders, whether as being bigender or androgynous or… whatever. But if I identified as third gender, I’d probably be pretty annoyed to still just be considered a slurring together of the two I wanted to be considered separate from. Honestly, the only difference I feel between hir and he/she as pronouns are that usually, people using the former are acknowledging that nonbinary people exist. Usually.

Now, I do like Ze, because instead of a random combination of the letters from the “real” pronouns, it just follows the form of the pre-existing pronouns, making it feel less like a rough combination and more of a continuation of a series, as a nonbinary pronoun should be.

Ve/Ver/Vis has a similar set of problems with being actually neutral, but it comes combined with the fact that I can’t for the life of me keep straight in my head when to use Ver and when to use Vis… and on top of that, they’re even more clearly just binary pronouns that have been slightly changed.

And then there’s Spivak- E/Ey/Em/Eir/Emself/Emselves

It’s just Them without the Th-.

It’s actually neutral and not impossible to pronounce, but sadly nobody uses it. I don’t understand why. I would use it, except nobody uses it so I won’t.


Which is actually why gender neutral pronouns suck. Because for some reason we’ve already decided on a group of gender neutral pronouns and somehow we picked the worst ones, and now switching is hard.


The moral of this story is that I’m lazy and implacable and please just let me use he and sometimes she without asking if that means I’m really male or really female or whatever.



This post was better in my mind, I should go to sleep.


One response to “On gender neutral pronouns

  1. lahariasweet February 9, 2013 at 4:16 am

    I use Xe and Xir myself, pronounced Ze and Zeer. Mostly for the silly reason that I just like the way they look written – I think they look appealing. Spoken, Xir isn’t quite so good though, as it sounds similar to Their, which could be confusing.
    Hir annoys the shit out of me, for the same reason you don’t like it. It’s just too obviously not its own original word. I agree with you that the gender neutral pronouns people have come up with to date are very clunky.
    And I always get a lot out of your posts, even if the post in question is simply an insight into the brain of a person who is clearly awesome 🙂
    Missi (a longtime lurker who found you through your brilliant comments on Pharyngula)

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