There’s a big internecine war over The Pronoun Issue at the moment. I’m staying out of it, partly because it’s too volatile and partly because I see what the “It’s ok to be polite/kind to individuals” side means.

But. If someone grabbed me by the throat and insisted on knowing what I think about it, I would say I continue to think we shouldn’t use luxury pronouns for anyone.

(I’m so ancient I remember gay friends calling each other “she” in a jokey camp way. See also: Nathan Lane in The Birdcage. An innocent time.)

Here’s why I continue to think that: it’s because the luxury pronouns nudge us into thinking of the luxury people just the way they want us to think. They trick us. That’s how language works. The effect isn’t nullifed just because we know that men aren’t women; the nudging goes on at a level outside our conscious control.

That’s why such a point is made of the luxury pronoun use. It’s not (only) because trans people like to hear it, it’s because it manipulates how all of us think.

If women and men were treated as equals it wouldn’t matter, but they’re not, so it does.

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