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Sam Smith comes out as non-binary (see staff post for discussion guidelines)

SigmasonicX

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,040
Freaking Magic the Gathering switched from using "his or her" to a neutral "their" and people here are still arguing about whether "they" is acceptable as neutral singular.
 
Oct 26, 2017
171
I have zero issue with how someone wishes to indentify themselves as it doesn't affect me personally but how is a singular person identifying in the plural sense? What am i missing? It is grammatically incorrect.
 

Miscend

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
265
User Banned (Permanent): History of Transphobia, Multiple Posts in this Thread
Mar 3, 2018
1,055
It's always really bizarre to me seeing native English speakers get so heated about someone using "they" for singular pronouns and how these people insist its wrong and for plural only. I say bizarre because I was born in the middle-east and learned English while my family was constantly moving to different towns and countries to escape the war, and even there in the middle of all this chaos I was able to learn about the history of "they" being used for singular purposes.
 

GuessMyUserName

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,801
Toronto
I have zero issue with how someone wishes to indentify themselves as it doesn't affect me personally but how is a singular person identifying in the plural sense? What am i missing? It is grammatically incorrect.
Okay we seriously need a threadmark here for people to do the most minimal level of reading before posting because I've had enough of this shit looping.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,977
how are you being reasonable when you straight up said Sam didn't have an understanding of the English language when they came out? can you not see how insulting that is?
It is extremely easy for me to say. Native speakers typically do not have to learn the rules of the language they speak. It is a subconscious understanding and because of that they put little thought into its usage.

Sit in with foreign speakers coming to terms with the rules of the English language sometime. Have a good look at how they come to intellectually understand the rules of a language native speakers have never considered.
 

Lesath

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
990
Humans and other mammals, males typically carry an X and a Y chromosome (XY), whereas females typically carry two X chromosomes (XX), which are a part of the XY sex-determination system.
Oh good, you can Wiki things. From that article:

"Humans, as well as some other organisms, can have a rare chromosomal arrangement that is contrary to their phenotypic sex; for example, XX males or XY gonadal dysgenesis (see androgen insensitivity syndrome)." Tell me, if sex was gender, would you call the former women and the latter men?
 

Sabretooth

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,255
In the ways that you might find the misuse of pronouns to be offensive I find the shit you're saying to me to be beyond that.

You're simplifying and flattening the meaning of things I say. That shit I really really fucking hate.
Reading this convo over a second time helped me understand what you mean.

You're not against the use of the 'they/them' pronouns for individuals, but you find that they're confusing for the exact reason that they can be confused for plural, and that you wish that Sam had chosen different, new pronouns instead of they/them.

That's an opinion that could be too easily misconstrued to mean that you don't acknowledge the they/them pronouns at all.

I kind of get where you're coming from, because while I fully respect they/them pronouns, I find them unwieldy to use compared to ze or xe.
 

Doop

Avenger
Oct 28, 2017
164
It is extremely easy for me to say. Native speakers typically do not have to learn the rules of the language they speak. It is a subconscious understanding and because of that they put little thought into its usage.
I can guarantee you us non-binary folks have spent waaaay longer thinking about pronouns than most people. This really isn't a blind spot for us.
 
Discussion Guidelines

JayC3

bork bork
Administrator
Oct 25, 2017
2,054
Official Staff Communication
We understand that the concept of being non-binary is new to many people. However, non-binary people deserve the same respect that anyone else does, and as such, we feel it is important to set guidelines so that discussion in this thread can be informed and civil:

*Representation is important and is something to celebrate, so avoid making dismissive comments.
*Respect people's preferred pronouns. Language is continually evolving, and derails arguing that (they/them/their) isn't singular will lead to a ban. For reference, the AP Style Book, which is a standard that many copy-editors and writers use, allows for the use of they/them/their for non-binary people.
*Be respectful and kind in how you approach discussions about this subject.

For more information on what is meant by non-binary, please see the non-binary OT: https://www.resetera.com/threads/non-binary-ot-01101110-01101111-01101110.119742/
 
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Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
7,948
It’s nice to see someone prominent be confident in moving toward they/them openly. The second half of the tweet is so heavily relatable.
 

FeistyBoots

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,138
Southern California
[STAFF]We understand that the concept of being non-binary is new to many people. However, non-binary people deserve the same respect that anyone else does, and as such, we feel it is important to set guidelines so that discussion in this thread can be informed and civil:

*Representation is important and is something to celebrate, so avoid making dismissive comments.
*Respect people's preferred pronouns. Language is continually evolving, and derails arguing that (they/them/their) is singular will lead to a ban. For reference, the AP Style Book, which is a standard that many copy-editors and writers use, allows for the use of they/them/their for non-binary people.
*Be respectful and kind in how you approach discussions about this subject.

For more information on what is meant by non-binary, please see the non-binary OT: https://www.resetera.com/threads/non-binary-ot-01101110-01101111-01101110.119742/
[/STAFF]
Thank you, mods. One minor quibble: they're not preferred pronouns but *correct* pronouns. :)

As for the topic, GOOD FOR THEM! It's wonderful to see.
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,980
Aw, I’m so happy that they were able to share their pronouns.

Doesn't this imply that anyone who prefers different pronouns is wrong?
It does not. Saying preferred pronouns implies that they’re just that- a preference. In actuality, using any other pronouns aside from they/them for Sam would be totally inaccurate. That’s why it’s so important for a lot of people to make sure everybody is aware of their pronouns- it doesn’t feel good to be misgendered.
 

Ketkat

Heart & Mind
Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,166
Doesn't this imply that anyone who prefers different pronouns is wrong?
No, the argument against using the term preferred pronouns is that cis people have pronouns while trans people have preferred pronouns. It comes with the implication that while trans people prefer a set of pronouns, it's acceptable to use others.
 

Cantaim

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,741
Djinn is right Usopp x Robin FTW
I don't get what's so hard about respecting people's identity lol. I swear you always get people commin outta the wood works to try and "UhM aCTuaLlY" people every time they reveal something personal about themselves.
 

Akronis

Lizard Daddy
Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,842
Can't fathom that in 2019 some people on this forum don't know what sex and gender are

I don't get what's so hard about respecting people's identity lol. I swear you always get people commin outta the wood works to try and "UhM aCTuaLlY" people every time they reveal something personal about themselves.
This as well. The grammar hang ups are so fucking random and trivial. Ridiculous that people think it's appropriate to argue that sort of thing to someone who is non-binary.
 

TheMango55

Member
Nov 1, 2017
3,959
It does not. Saying preferred pronouns implies that they’re just that- a preference. In actuality, using any other pronouns aside from they/them for Sam would be totally inaccurate. That’s why it’s so important for a lot of people to make sure everybody is aware of their pronouns- it doesn’t feel good to be misgendered.
No, the argument against using the term preferred pronouns is that cis people have pronouns while trans people have preferred pronouns. It comes with the implication that while trans people prefer a set of pronouns, it's acceptable to use others.
No. It’s more to clarify for cis people like myself that it’s not a preference.
Ok so just so I'm clear, when I first saw FeistyBoots say "they're not preferred pronouns but *correct* pronouns. :)" I assumed that meant "They/them is the correct pronoun for non-binary people and any NB people who disagree are wrong"

But what seems to be the case is y'all are saying "the pronouns you identify with are correct pronouns"

Is this the case?
 
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Mona

Member
Oct 30, 2017
16,109
Ok so just so I'm clear, when I first saw FeistyBoots say "they're not preferred pronouns but *correct* pronouns. :)" I assumed that meant "They/them is the correct pronoun for non-binary people and any NB people who disagree are wrong"

But what seems to be the case is ya'll are saying "the pronouns you prefer are the correct pronouns"

Is this the case?
well, you're using the word prefer again
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,980
Ok so just so I'm clear, when I first saw FeistyBoots say "they're not preferred pronouns but *correct* pronouns. :)" I assumed that meant "They/them is the correct pronoun for non-binary people and any NB people who disagree are wrong"

But what seems to be the case is y'all are saying "the pronouns you identify with are correct pronouns"

Is this the case?
The best way to word it, at least IMO, is just “your pronouns are your pronouns”. As a trans woman, I don’t like to say that I identify as a woman, even if it’s technically accurate that I do identify as one. I just... am a woman. In Sam Smith’s case, they’ve decided that they/them pronouns are the only ones that align with their own gender. So to use he/him or she/her or anything else when referring to them wouldn’t really be correct. You’ll certainly find non binary folx who are cool with those pronouns, but they aren’t correct in this specific case.
 

Shadownet

Member
Oct 29, 2017
1,879
I was just listening to some Sam Smith's songs yesterday. Love their music, I'm happy they came out and is more comfortable now.
 

Budi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,513
Finland
I'm surprised people find "they" to be such a controversial term to use to refer to a singular person. I tend to use "they" when speaking about babies I don't know the gender of, so it doesn't feel weird to me at all.
My native language doesn't have gendered pronouns, but posting on English speaking forums has made the usage of they pretty effortless. Not everyone has their gender specified in their profile (nor does it show what pronouns people prefer) and usually I don't take the time to check anyway, so I'll just default to they. I originally started to do this since I didn't want to accidentally call women as men, doesn't make for welcoming community if people talk like everyone would be a man (this happens a lot even at Era). I then wasn't even really aware of non-binary, it's still relatively new concept for me and I'm still learning. Big thanks to Era and previously GAF that I'm more aware now, still definitely not an expert and will be likely to trip on some things in the future.

I assume that using "they" won't be considered as misgendering by people who go with him/she? So it's always safe to use it to not make someone feel uncomfortable or hurt?

Edit: Also even though there's no gendered pronouns in my language, it's a custom for younger folk in example to address their elders in a plural, it's considered more respectful. Also done when addressing a customer. Hence using plural for one person is a familiar concept even in my own language.
 
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Kuma Bear

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,906
Japan
I'm doing the whole English teaching thing in Japan so grammar is literally my job. I understand the grammar of "they/them" but I don't care if someone uses it to refer to a single person, there's no harm done. I don't see why people care so much about the grammar when it has no impact on others.
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,980
I assume that using "they" can't be considered as misgendering? So it's always safe to use it to not make someone feel uncomfortable?
That’ll depend on the context, I think. I’ve had people who know my pronouns are she/her repeatedly use they/them when referring to me (in my presence, at that). That makes me really uncomfortable because it’s as if those people don’t acknowledge my gender. If somebody doesn’t know though, and you don’t want to put somebody on the spot by asking their pronouns, I think defaulting to they/them is usually a safe idea.
 

Budi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,513
Finland
That’ll depend on the context, I think. I’ve had people who know my pronouns are she/her repeatedly use they/them when referring to me (in my presence, at that). That makes me really uncomfortable because it’s as if those people don’t acknowledge my gender. If somebody doesn’t know though, and you don’t want to put somebody on the spot by asking their pronouns, I think defaulting to they/them is usually a safe idea.
Yeah I was thinking that not everyone wants people to pry on things like that, it can be a sensitive subject and people might not want to be open about it to everyone. Of course if I knew the person and what their pronouns are, I would use that pronoun. I generally feel that they is inclusive language, so it's good.
 

NinjaBoiX

Member
Oct 28, 2017
465
Me neither, but if he feels better that way we should appreciate and respect it, right?
It’s not just about appreciating and respecting it though, that’s fair enough.

He’s asking people to remember to refer to “Sam Smith” specifically as “they or them”, rather than 99.9% of the rest of the population that aren’t offended be referred to as “he or she”, lest they unintentionally cause them (Sam Smith) embarrassment or emotional distress.

Again, this isn’t an attack on thier (Sam Smith’s) decision, just simply pointing out that most people will totally forget to do it without intended to cause offence. Hell, I made about four “errors” typing out this post that had to be corrected.

It really is getting trickier and trickier to play by the rules these days.

Edit: Reading through the rest of the thread I’ve literally only just noticed that your post referred to Sam Smith as he and not they. See this is what I’m talking about! It’s a minefield.
 
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Solar Puffin

Member
Oct 8, 2018
2,806
Sydney
I have an agender friend who goes by they/them, and while I respect that, I screw up and accidentally misgender constantly when referring to them. It probably doesn't help that they used different pronouns for years before they came out, and when they came out, it's like, they're still the exact same person, and my brain gets muddled constantly about it.
It leaves me a bit on edge regarding my language around them.

One of my problems with they/them though, is that for the most part, when used for single individuals, it's used to refer to someone you are very unfamiliar with, and so using they/them can feel like you are de-familiarising yourself with them a bit, and I dislike that feeling.
But I assumed it's a feeling that would disappear with continued use of the pronoun. After all, language is malleable.
 

FeistyBoots

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,138
Southern California
Ok so just so I'm clear, when I first saw FeistyBoots say "they're not preferred pronouns but *correct* pronouns. :)" I assumed that meant "They/them is the correct pronoun for non-binary people and any NB people who disagree are wrong"

But what seems to be the case is y'all are saying "the pronouns you identify with are correct pronouns"

Is this the case?
Yes, exactly that. Dropping 'preferred' assigns the same validity to these pronouns as cisgender pronouns.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,191
It's not a minefield, if you're making an honest attempt and make a mistake no one is going to be upset. It's only a "minefield" to people looking for it to be one.
Indeed, it's really no different from trying to remember someone's name. Like, as long as you're making a genuine attempt, people will typically understand if you're someone who's very terrible at remembering names (or if someone has a very unusual or difficult to pronounce name). It's very much similar to that--as long as you're trying your best and not ignoring someone's wishes intentionally, it's fine. The important thing is making the effort to try.
 

Amiablepercy

Member
Nov 4, 2017
2,812
California
I don't understand this at all but I've learned that I don't have to understand everything, it is not my job, but I do need to respect people and do whatever I can or whatever they need to feel a part, welcomed, and included. Loved too. I'm happy for them.