It has become de rigeur in some spaces to state your preferred pronouns/pronouns you use after stating your name. I think this is needed because it is pivotal that people are called by the pronouns that they use and most identify with.

However, I have a confession to make: I hate pronouns. In my perfect world, there would be one set of pronouns to use for everyone. The dichotomy of he/she is terroristic. It creates a world of gender terrorism. To the extent that we have made progress on gender inclusion and gender neutrality, pronouns rear their ugly head to remind us of the tyrannical binary gender system. The addition of gender neutral pronouns is a step. I prefer they/them but that preference is made only out of the choices that we have. My ultimate choice would be to not have to make that choice.

For my formative years I was called “he.” I had no say in the matter. I was coercively assigned male at birth. I also had no say in that, either. A doctor’s cursory glance between my legs set me on a gender track for life. At first, I never thought much about being called “he” because I didn’t really know who I was. I had a growing suspicion that I was not a boy but it would not be until I was 17 or 18 that I first realized I was a “transsexual.” I told a therapist and she was supportive, even though there was way less awareness of transgender issues back in the early 1990s. Since I was not a boy, I must, by default, be a girl. Girls and women usually get called by she/her/hers pronouns. Therefore I became a “she.”

I was never comfortable with “she.” I would think: is this person doing this just to be polite? Or I would think, does this person think I am a cis female? Cuz I’m not. And therefore they are thinking something about me that is not true. I felt my trans-ness got lost in the pronoun binary. There was a part of me that was being closeted and invisibilized. For years, I was called she. I was called he by family members. I was shuttled back and forth between the great bipolar mistake called hegemonic gender.

Probably about 3-4 years ago I was tired of living a lie and invisibilizing my long held sense of myself as a non-binary person. I changed my pronouns to they/them/their and it felt good. While far from perfect, they are the pronouns that most closely align with who I am. There are people, however, that won’t use them or can’t use them. They claim it is too hard and they bemoan the fact that they/them are plural pronouns and thus unacceptable for singular use.

Will there come a time when all people will be called they? I am not so sure. I think the term has a lot of baggage because of its alignment with plural and not singular usage. Will there be a new word? Possibly, but this would likely take generations. This makes me sad because my ideal would be for all people to share the same gender neutral pronoun. I think this would be something that would really help to abolish gender, which is what we need to do for true liberation.