Hey. So, the other day I shared a video on Facebook (can’t find the link now, sorry). The video itself was about how you shouldn’t just assume someone wants to be called a “he” or a “she” and to call someone “them” instead until you discover their preference. I commented how I get that some people don’t identify as a male or female and just want to be known as, like, a person or a banana or something, and that if they want to designate a gender-neutral word, they can feel free, but they shouldn’t butcher the English language to do it, because “they” is a plural word, not a singular one.
Someone commented back — very snootily (is that a word?), I might add — about how:
- it’s obvious that I have no respect for people who struggle with gender identify because I dared to use the word banana,
- “they” actually isn’t a plural word, and besides, we create the English language so therefore that makes it the right usage,
- and basically how I’m an intolerant little shit who steals candy from babies and kills puppies and shit.
First of all, let me say this: I get that some people don’t think of themselves as male or female. Just because I used a banana in my example doesn’t mean I’m a fucking moron. I used it to illustrate a point, which is how absurd it is that people are trying to identify as something other than a person (by that, I mean that they’re trying to come up with concepts like “non-binary” and shit instead of just saying they identify as a human being, which would be the simplest way).
I have autism. Yes, it may not seem like it because I’m what is considered “high-functioning”, but that doesn’t mean I’m normal. I’m not. Social cues don’t register in my brain. If there was a test on reading body language, I would probably score a 10, because odds are that I would at least get a couple questions right by chance. Sometimes I say things that people take to be insulting when I meant no harm by it, and sometimes I take things that others say as insults even though they aren’t. I just don’t know. Something is programmed wrong in my brain. I can’t control it. That doesn’t mean I’m a dumbass (I actually have a genius IQ, and people with autism tend to be smarter overall than those who don’t have autism).
Now on to the second point. “They” is a plural fucking word. It is used to describe two or more people, among other things. The official definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary is as follows:
[third person plural] Used to refer to two or more people or things previously mentioned or easily identified. ‘the two men could get life sentences if they are convicted’
[singular third person plural] Used to refer to a person of unspecified gender. ‘ask a friend if they could help’
The Dictionary.com definition is:
he, she, it
antecedent in place of the definite masculine he or the definite feminine she):
And by the way, the second definitions from both sources doesn’t mean that you can substitute the word “they” with “he” or “she” at will; it means that if you’re discussing a non-specified person, or a generalized person (in this case, a friend and a voter, respectively), then it is acceptable to use the word “they” to describe that person.
As for the third point, I don’t fucking care what you think of me.
You don’t fucking matter. I can count on two hands the people / groups of people whose opinions matter to me, and you sure as hell aren’t even close to being one of them. However, because I am using this post to negate your entire argument, I will say that I don’t fucking care what the hell you choose to identify as. It’s not my problem. It’s not for me to judge, unless you actually want to identify as a banana, in which case shut the fuck up (with the exceptions being actual bananas; they can identify as bananas). Just because I made a joke about it doesn’t mean I disrespect the people who actually struggle with gender identity and all that crap. It just means I made a fucking joke. People joke about things they shouldn’t all the time. I couldn’t even tell you the number of autism-related jokes I’ve heard. There are four I can find videos of and one more that I can think of (The Aspy’s) off the top of my head in Family Guy alone (by the way, I laughed my ass off while watching them). And don’t you dare fucking tell me that autism can’t compare to gender identity as a problem, because while it might not be on the same page on the types of issues that arise, you’re an ignorant, naive SOB if you think living with autism isn’t a challenge every second of every day.
So yeah, I don’t think it’s acceptable to use “they” to describe a single, specific person. If you really want to eliminate gender roles, come up with a gender-neutral word, like we have “he” for a male and “she” for a female (traditionally). [EDIT (I meant to include this initially): Maybe the problem isn’t that people don’t identify as a “he” or a “she”; maybe the problem is that we all have pre-conceived notions about what it means to be a “he” or a “she”.] Also, because I know this will come up: this is not meant as an “attack” against the person who disrespectfully “disagreed” with my point of view, this is meant as a response to said person (and there’s another way to avoid using “him”, “her”, or “them”; who knew?!).
I think that’s about it. This was a really long post, and I know I didn’t try as hard to speak in a professional tone, as I do with politics, because I was just so pissed off, and for that, I do apologize. However, this needed to be said, and while I’m sure there are many nicer ways to say it, I think this best represents my feelings. If you have any questions about how to interpret something written here, don’t just assume I’m trying to insult someone; ask me what I mean, okay? Seriously, I’m not trying to be an asshole (if I were, there would be absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind, even in the mind of an autistic person, because when I’m being bitchy, I make it painfully obvious so my words aren’t misconstrued as sarcastic or anything).
Thank you to all who kept reading until the end.