Gender Pronouns Are Changing. It’s Exhilarating.

The other day I had occasion to use the pronoun “they” in the new way, referring to a specific person. Not your grandfather’s singular “they” with its generic meaning — “A student can hand their paper in early if they want to” — but “they” as in, “Roberta wants a haircut, and they also want some highlights.”

I wangled it, but it required a bit of conscious effort. Pronouns sit deep in our cognition, used constantly and bound by habit. “It’s their turn to use the kite, don’t you think?” I said, thinking consciously about my sentence in a way that I don’t have to usually.

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