What do gender neutral pronouns mean?| Updated on
A gender neutral pronoun doesn’t associate the person being referred to with any gender. Some languages (like English) don’t have gender neutral pronouns, while some (like Chinese) are gender neutral in spoken form, and some (like Malay) are gender neutral in written and spoken form.
Pronouns like “he / him / his” is gender-specific, because it refers to the male gender.
Different people and organisations have proposed various gender neutral pronouns (like “ne / nem / nir”) over the years, though none has gained popular adoption. This is likely due to a mix of factors, like the relative obscurity of the new terms, as well as the relative difficulty in pronouncing and using them.
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On the other hand, the use of the singular “they / them / theirs” as gender neutral pronouns is gaining adoption.
Gender neutral pronouns are also known as “gender inclusive pronouns”.
The sharing or display of pronouns in the workplace, or on social media profiles, has also became increasingly common. Pronouns are not indicative of a person’s sexual orientation, so naturally, not everyone who shares or displays their pronouns identify as LGBTQ+. The reason straight, cisgender people share or display their pronouns is simple: they want to show others that they will respect everyone’s pronouns; in other words, displaying their pronouns is a way to let others know (especially LGBTQ+ folks) that they will create a safe space for any LGBTQ+ folks around them.
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We've created a massive LGBTQ+ Glossary (69+ words)
The world is increasingly accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but it isn't always easy to understand the different sub-communities and nuances. In part due to the censorship in sex education and the mainstream media (hello from Singapore), many find themselves stumped by some of the terms relating to the LGBTQ+ community.
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