A friend of mine recently applied to become a volunteer at the Humane Society. She is an animal lover who was excited about signing up to help animals in need.
She was surprised that, as part of her application to volunteer, she was asked for her pronouns (because, you know, stray dogs and cats in need of food and shelter care deeply about who is providing those necessities.) She was uncomfortable with being forced to provide pronouns — she is clearly a woman, and it is not an issue for her. However, the Humane Society would not allow her to volunteer unless she put preferred pronouns on the application.
My friend is now volunteering her time elsewhere — and running for office!
Regrettably, this demand has become commonplace, and you may, at some point in your life, be required to provide your pronouns — and those pronouns can be things like she, her, hers or xe, xem, xyr (etc., etc. ….) In truth, though, there is an easy way to provide a pronoun already in existence that cannot be argued.
Say, “I identify as ‘you, your, yours.'”
Think about it. If someone is addressing you, they call you “you.”
“How are you doing?”
“It’s nice to see your smiling face.”
“Are these dirty socks yours?” (That one is for my kids!)
The only time you would use any of the more fashionable pronouns is if you are talking about a person.
“She came in through the bathroom window.”
“He saw a need and filled it.”
“Xe was a little confused about who xe was until xe listened to a program on NPR.”
Since this is fact in the English language, you, your, and yours is truly the only option that makes sense. Why would anyone care about third-party references? The people who know and love me would refer to me as she or her. People who don’t know me, or don’t know me well, might “misgender” me — in which case, I have developed a thick enough skin to not care. Those seeking instances of aggression can continue to be offended by this new misgendering bit, but in the end, why should they care? Get out of your own head. Do good in the world, be a friend and a kind person to those you come in contact with.
Maybe you could even volunteer for the Humane Society. You might do some good there and feel better about yourself. There are many furry friends in need, and they (the animals) won’t judge you no matter what you call them!
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