The Garden

A blog by Marijn van Hoorn

Two thoughts about pronouns

Marijn van Hoorn

This post is a tightened-up transcript of two sets of disorganised thoughts i spewed to some friends over Discord recently.

I can't answer for other people, but i suppose i can at least provide some perspective on why i use neopronouns.

To me, “they” primarly feels androgynous or non-specific, because, well, that's what singular “they” has historically been used for: referring to a person whose gender is unknown.

This was good and bad for me, because while it means i'm almost always okay with being called a they, it also meant i didn't have any pronouns that made me euphoric when i was feeling strongly neither male nor female. (Nowadays i call that type of feeling vetrois, or vetrinity if i have to put it as a noun.)

After much searching, i something that worked for me in the form of a set of neopronouns: originally the xe/xem/xir set, but now ve/vem/vir. Instead of being vague and non-specific, they feel like an explicit opt-out of the gender binary altogether, and it feels great! (When i'm in vetrois-mode, that is.)

Okay, here's my hot take: Railing against people who say “preferred pronouns” instead of just “pronouns” and calling it offensive is not only counter-productive, but also dismissive of the experiences of genderfluid people. We might very well say we prefer specific pronouns at a specific time, even if we use other pronouns other times.

Similarly — and a bit less of a hot take; i think people already had this argument after Merriam-Webster labelled it as derogatory — saying “sexual preference” is always offensive is bi/pan/&c. erasure. My sexual orientation is bisexual, but my sexual preference might swing any which way — the bi-cycle is real!