As of Sept. 17, 2019, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "they" as, "Used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is non-binary." Allow me to
proudly reiterate: The dictionary now defines non-binary babes by using the singular "they" pronoun. Seeing my gender pronoun on spellcheck (that's queer for "my name in lights") has been a lifelong dream of mine. And now, these tweets about Merriam-Webster adding singular "they" pronoun to its dictionary are like the genderless icing on the delicious, academically-validating cake.
In a statement released,
Merriam-Webster announced their " to specifically include non-binary people, explaining, "It's an expansion of a use that is sometimes called the 'singular they' (and one that has a expansion of the existing definition of the pronoun "they long history in English)."
"If a word is frequently used and likely to be encountered, then it goes in,”
Peter Sokolowski, an editor-at-large at Merriam-Webster, told TIME. “Because its [singular they's] use as a pronoun has become so frequent and so public, it’s simply time for it to go into the dictionary.”
Though I like to think that
non-binary babes are timeless, these tweets about the now dictionary- official singular demonstrate that their time is now. Gender Inclusivity for Dummies is required reading.
My gender identity (unlike my romantic status) is now #certifiedoffish.
IMHNBO (in my humble non-binary opinion), if Marie Antoinette didn't hate the working class, this could have been a great, "Let
them eat cake!" moment for us all.
Serious note: while many non-binary angels do use "they/them" pronouns, it's not synonymous with being non-binary. You could be non-binary and use pronouns that aren't "they/them." You could also use "they/them" pronouns and identify as something other than non-binary.
Using the singular "they" really does get easier with time and practice. While the dictionary is a tool for words that get popular usage, reminding yourself and your friends to properly gender non-binary folks should be popular too. Making room for people to grow and learn is important.
Once you've read all about the history of trans women of color, perhaps you'd like to take a gander at the history of the singular "they." I know I would.
Hit 'Em With The Dictionary
Specifically, Non-Binary is the working title of my memoir.
We're generally and
grammatically correct now.
Education can't happen without accessibility. If you hear someone misgendering a friend or loved one, try to gently remind them, so the responsibility doesn't fall on your non-binary friend or loved one.
Using the right pronouns can be an IRL way to show that you are dedicated to making the people around you feel seen, loved, and protected.
Honestly, I was too distracted by
"Bechdel Test" to think of a joke. This is, like, a big day for queer people.
Motions for a version of OutKast's "Hey, Ya!" But changed to, "They, Ya!"
I think this is a super important thing to remember — you can be non-binary and not use "they" pronouns or not
publicly use "they" pronouns, and you and your identity are still valid. 18
Micheal Scott Could Never
I need more non-binary
The Office fans in my life. My email is in my staff bio. Thanks.
Though the dictionary definition of "they" doesn't define how you personally experience non-binary identity, seeing the singular "they" in print (read: on my very dirty computer) is pretty flipping cool. While there's always more work to be done to ensure the comfort and safety of all marginalized communities, Merriam-Webster defining the singular "they" feels pretty universally amazing.