Pronouns and Gender

equality00Some thoughts on pronouns & gender

As a product of our language’s heritage, English has often used gendered pronouns to replace nouns in sentences when referring to an individual or group of people.

However when we used gendered pronouns like “she” or “he” we risk making an incorrect assumption about a person’s gender identity.

For me, gender-neutrality is important. The shared humanity we have with fellow human beings transcends gender. It is the common gift of creative life we share which binds the world together in a common-created identity. This identity is waiting to be fully realized and grown into. This identity is one that is shaped by the love of God; granting life as Divine breath and embodied wisdom.

So, personally:

  • When someone is referring to me, I prefer the use of gender-neutral pronouns
    (they, them, their/s)
  • I believe that gender is both biologically and socially constructed and that individuals can fall on a “gender spectrum”
    (I also believe that one can fall on a “sexuality spectrum”)
  • When considering others or myself, I will try, with God’s help, to avoid issues of gender unless pastorally necessary. This goes to issues of dress (appearance), color, and other “preferences” (or life-callings)
  • Please continue to pray for those who do not, in this life, feel affirmed in their own gender identity or human sexuality

Aloha,

Christopher+
O’ahu, Hawai’i, October 2017


There are, I recognize, grammatical challenges to the plural usage of (they, them, their/s). Many agree, however, that the English language, as is all language, is in a constant state of change and “flux,” informed by a variety of complex factors.] For information on the grammatical implications, see:

For more information and ways to engage with the grammatical, together with the “gender politics” side of this discussion, these contributions from “The Comma Queen” are very thought-provoking (and include both text and video):