Monday, September 10, 2012

Pronouns (yes...again.) ~Sevan

Let me first say....that yes, even *I* have gotten rather tired of thinking about/talking about pronouns. However...the more I express myself, the more I speak about transgender issues and genderqueer life...the more people have started to ask me "so then...what pronouns do you use?"

And I've been grateful, happy, thankful, and frustrated all simultaneously. Grateful, happy and thankful because "wow! You're asking me, and that's so respectful and awesome that you thought to ask!" and frustrated because..."Wow...I don't like the words I've got available to me."

So humor me, if you might...and let's walk through my process and it's gone thus far.

My line of thinking started with "Well, men and woman don't get to decide; Hey! I hate the pronoun he or she! I refuse to use those!!" That's never happened. (I don't think...maybe it has. That'd be interesting..) and as such, I decided that maybe ze/hir just felt weird because it was new, and that maybe instead of reinventing the wheel...I'd just stick it out, and surely I'd get used to their use and all would be well!

Yea...hasn't happened. In fact, I've grown increasingly unhappy with them. Particularly hir. I hate that every time I say "hir" I feel the need to follow that with "and it's spelled h-i-r." or if I write it down, I feel the need to follow it with "and it's pronounced hear".

I don't like the way it feels in my mouth. I don't like the way it feels in my ears. I thought I'd like it. I thought I'd come around with use and normalcy. I've not. Ze is ok...I don't struggle with that, though it's odd to me as infrequently as we use the letter "z" in almost feels like "Z's a weird letter that we never use...let's assign it to those weird people over there! How fitting"

And yea...likely that's just my mind. But that's what we're talking about right now isn't it? *My mind*, my process.

A non-binary acquaintance of mine has created the pronoun set "jhe/jher" but to my mind it sound...french. Or...something. I know it doesn't sound like it fits in English. I don't begrudge jher, and have no problem using jher set in reference to jher. I just don't like it for me. (though I would very much prefer ONE set that is for everyone...I have very little hope that's likely to actually happen...too many "hands in the pot" it were.)

In addition to this thinking process, and dislike of the words I've chosen to go with thus far...I'm rather unhappy to go back to all those people who have asked me what pronouns to use, and have done their best to use them, to please...switch.

That's what needs done though. That's what exploration is all about, isn't it? Going down a path to try it on, see if it fits, finding it doesn't, and trying something else.

So what do I propose instead? Why, I'm so glad you asked!

He She Ze/Ne
Him Her Per
His Hers Pers

As I said, to some extent; Ze doesn't bother me. The "Per/Pers" set does have "phe" that goes with it in place of He/She, but I can't really work with that so much. There was a time that I went by Phoenix, and Phe was the short "nickname" for that...and so in my mind it just hearkens back to that, rather than being a proper pronoun.
Ne is a set I just recently came across and it fits nicely and easily into English, plus it doesn't have words that sound like it already in existence, (such as hir, hear, here) however oddly...when I read it: ne went to the store. My mind tries to make an "h" out of that "n". The mind is a tricky thing!! Also I'm a geek and I keep hearing in my mind "We are the knights that say NEIH!" Yea yea...I know. I've warned you, my mind is strange! Strange I tell you!! *hem*

Per/Pers has it's base in Person. Which I love! I'm always saying that I'd like to be seen as a person, rather than a gender...and bottom line, this set fits perfectly into that ideal. That base structure of the word also puzzles me as to where "Phe" then comes in...that has no base in Person. Hmmm. Then again...who wants to be refered to as Pe....No I. those who have walked with me, and used Ze/Hir in reference to me...thank you so much for that!! If you would work with me as I experiment, and walk down this new path that's barely worn, where few have walked before; I thank you for your understanding, and respect as I find what works best.


LaurenG said...

I really like your set of pronouns. As a post-op transwoman, I'm comfortable with female pronouns. But I have friends who are gender-queer, and friends who are Intersex. I would love to have a set of pronouns to use that make them comfortable.

But I have read in several places that linguists have been trying to come up with gender neutral pronouns for over 200 years,m and for some reason they don't take.

Perhaps with the increased awareness of gender diversity something like you proposed will finally take. I hope so.

Sevan said...

Thanks for the comment Lauren. It's true, they often don't stick. I think that's frequently because people don't want to try (it does take time, and isn't immediate.) or don't have someone in their life that requests it.
I know for me, I'd rather people refer to me with comfort (ie using words they're used to, and feel comfortable with) rather than forcing "uncomfortable" words that are new. Which...generally keeps such words from ever becoming comfortable and frequently used.
Barring all that though, I like my new words too. :)