A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronounsby Archie Bongiovanni, Tristan Jimerson Published 12 Jun 2018
|A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns.pdf|
Archie, a snarky genderqueer artist, is tired of people not understanding gender neutral pronouns. Tristan, a cisgender dude, is looking for an easy way to introduce gender neutral pronouns to his increasingly diverse workplace. The longtime best friends team up in this short and fun comic guide that explains what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use them. They also include what to do if you make a mistake, and some tips-and-tricks for those who identify outside of the binary to keep themselves safe in this binary-centric world. A quick and easy resource for people who use they/them pronouns, and people who want to learn more!
"A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns" Reviews
3.5★ Edited to recommend people read Yzabel's and Cecily's comments below for suggestions.
“He/She went to the store. = They went to the store.
It belongs to him/her. = It belongs to them.
He said so himself. = They said so themself/themselves.
She said so herself. = They said so themself/themselves.”
This handy little graphic production can help us with language. At the moment it's a 5-star idea whose time has certainly come, but it's maybe a 3-star execution, so I'm splitting the difference.
Genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, whatever label is used it means that an individual does not identify as male or female, no matter what they might have been born as. See there, what I did? I did what we often do as shorthand when we don’t want to keep saying “he or she”. . . avoiding saying: no matter what he or she might have been born as.
It’s actually accepted practice in speech and becoming accepted in less than formal writing to use “they” as a singular, and it goes back to at least the 15th century and Shakespeare, in case you were wondering. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/gra...
Okay, that part is pretty easy. It gets harder when you’re referring to a specific person who either chooses to be identified using gender-neutral pronouns (and they may let you know that when they are introduced – or not), or it’s a person whose gender you can’t identify by the usual visual clues.
The book says if a person named Robert asks to be addressed as Bob, you probably do as you’re asked. The book suggests people will begin letting each other know when they prefer “they” or whatever.
As I’m writing this, there’s a medical program on TV, and a person with a crewcut, dressed in navy scrubs, is speaking to the camera. I have the sound off, and when I glanced up, I wondered if the person was male or female. I couldn’t tell. When the captions came up, the person was identified as “Jen”, so I assume they’re female, but had the name been Sam or Kim or any number of foreign names that are unfamiliar to me, I couldn’t assume anything.
So I might ask someone watching with me “Do you think they’re a man or a woman?” I might say “that person talking”, but I certainly wouldn’t say “it”.
This little handbook has rough cartoons and tries hard to be light-hearted and funny about what is a pretty serious subject. Being “mis-gendered” is embarrassing, just as it’s embarrassing if you ask a woman with a pot-belly when the baby’s due. It happens! We assume a lot from appearances!
People used to make fun of people who shaved their heads, but these days it could be anything from a fashion statement to the results of cancer treatment, and most of us are pretty careful not to assume anything.
When I was about 12, I was on horseback high above the guys driving by me on the track who stopped to look up and ask directions. I had a duck-tail (or a DA, so-called in those days) and was in jeans and cowboy boots, so after I answered their question, one of them said “Thank you, sir or madam, as the case may be.”
I said “It happens to be madam” and laughed, fancying myself a bit of a “cowboy” anyway. I thought it was funny, but if I’d been a boy, I probably would have been devastated!
That’s a personal case of being mis-gendered. (These days, in Australia, they would just have said “Thanks, mate” and left it at that, since that’s handy for anyone.
There are other made-up words that are accepted use instead of they/their, such as Ze, Ne, Xe, and there’s plenty of information on the internet you can google. Here’s one blog. https://genderneutralpronoun.wordpres...
You may not know if there are people in your workplace, school, or community who would prefer gender-neutral pronouns, but this is happening, whether or not you’re ready for it. It’s not the same as the royal “we” or “one”, although that could occasionally be useful.
It’s easy when addressing groups to say “folks” or “people” or “delegates” instead of “ladies and gentleman". And use “students” or “kids” instead of “boys and girls”. If you’re identifying someone in a crowd, you can say “the person in the blue shirt” instead of “the woman in the blue shirt”.
See? But it gets awkward (to me) when you use the example they gave:
“Archie spent all their money on candy. “Archie is eating so much candy that they are sick. Archie has learned nothing and they will continue to eat too much candy. What’s wrong with them?”
In the first sentence, I might think Archie has spent more than just Archie’s money. It’s a bit ambiguous.
I think I could learn to adapt if I were really unsure as to the gender of the person, like the one I just saw on TV. In that case, I’m pretty sure I’d say “That looks like a really easy hairstyle. I bet they don't have to spend any time getting ready for work.”
But if I were convinced they were a male or a female, I’m sure I’d slip and lapse into “he” or “she”.
Food for thought. There are a few inaccuracies in the book at the moment, but I’m hoping they will be corrected. Thanks to NetGalley and Limerence Press for the preview copy.
P.S. And for anyone interested in the use of “they” as singular, it's nice to know it is becoming more accepted in grammar in instances where writers are taught to say “he or she”. Here's an interesting Oxford English Dictionary blog post. https://public.oed.com/blog/a-brief-h...
I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.
I picked this up from the Read Now shelf on netgalley hoping to find something informative that I could recommend others, and that's exactly what this was. I knew almost everything that was in this short comic, but I still learned some new stuff. Since English isn't my first language, I found the quick guides on how to use gender-neutral language pretty useful because sometimes I'm not sure what terms are gendered and which aren't or how to substitute a gendered noun etc.
Throughout the book I was also trying to put myself in the shoes of someone who's completely new to the concept of non-binary people and read it through their eyes. I think the authors did a great job at summarizing both the technicalities of gender-neutral language and the effects that misgendering may have on genderqueer people. Everything was backed up by useful, everyday examples.
The first part of the comic is directed at cis people who want to learn about gender-neutral language (especially using they/them when talking to/about someone who uses these pronouns) and want to support their enby friends. The second part is directed at non-binary people themselves, with advice on what to do in different situations.
I feel weird judging a book like this because I don't think it's really my place, but I definitely recommend reading it if you're new to these concepts and also if you're cis and an ally but still want a reminder of what to do and not to do. It's also something great to buy (once it comes out as a physical copy) and leave at your workplace (like suggested in the book itself) or anywhere you might want to implement gender-neutral language to help your non-binary colleagues/friends feel included.
A fun, easy introduction to they/them pronouns with some pretty awesome graphics to boot.
I'm no novice when it comes to trans issues, but I'll admit that I know much less about people who identify as genderqueer.
I knew a person who identified as genderqueer when I was in college, but has since adapted she/her pronouns, so my first-hand knowledge of someone who is genderfluid or genderqueer is extremely limited. However, I'm always up to learn and grow as a person in this crazy world we live in, and understanding different people and different perspectives in a big part of that journey.
My favorite part of this little book was the really skilled artistry of the comics. They were fun with informative with witty dialogue, and it easily kept me reading and engaged. I learned a number of things as well, and any take-away from a book like this one is meaningful.
I like that this book furthers the dialogue between cis people and their trans/genderqueer acquaintances and friends, and I think it would be a good starter book for someone who wants to learn the basics of gender-neutral pronouns.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
This is a great little guide for anyone with questions about people who use alternative pronouns like They/Them or Zir/Zim. This is about non-binary or gender non-comforming people. They don't feel like they are on either spectrum, but they are in the middle.
I spent a few summers working at Camp Aranu'tiq where there were several non-binary people. It was an awesome summer working with kids. I have to say, I had a hard time with this and mis-pronouned often. I got very mad at myself for having such a problem with it. I have gotten much better about it. It is a totally different mindset and I had to really undo much of what I learned as a kid. It's not easy, but it makes non-binary people feel so accepted if I can just use their preferred pronoun. It is also focusing more on something else than gender. The person in the paisley shirt instead of her or woman.
The guide is amazing and easy to read and explains things well. It really does make a great gift to help make the world a better place.
I got an ARC copy of this book.
Gender is my thing. Sexuality is my thing too. They both hold a very dear place in my heart. As soon as I saw the name of this book I pounced. There was no way I was passing up on this book. The cover was cutesy and it was something I might want to take lessons from for the class I teach.
The book talks about pronouns. There is some technical talk, which one of the characters is really bored through. Then they start to break it down into real people talk. There is discussion on how to use a pronoun, when to use pronouns, and why it matters. This book covers a ton and I learned a lot about language from it. If you already use gender neutral pronouns for someone you love or even yourself, then this book is just reaffirming things you understand. If you don't, it is a great introduction.
There was purposeful misgendering of Archie to prove a point. That point is how damaging misgendering can be for someone. There is even talk about how it is ok to feel angry, cut people out of your life, and that sometimes people love you but will never get it. It was a wonderful section and that section is so important for queer people to read. Family is not blood for a lot of queer people. Family are the people who love you and the people on your side. This book validates that experience and allows someone to see just how hard pronouns can be on someone when you get them wrong. It was just so well done.
The book is not just a book for beginners. If you already know your stuff, this book is still interesting. The art is cutesy and I adored it. Then there were some really funny sections like Tristan giving a new meaning to YOLO and his hat that made his life easier because it was a hat of ignorance. LOVELY. I was snorting. This book could have been super dry and dusty, something no one but supreme nerds (like me) would have read. Instead it was really approachable and helpful.
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