Welcome to TIMP!

Welcome to They Is My Pronoun!

Whereas many blogs or news stories on singular they as a gender-neutral pronoun are invested in the debate as to whether ‘they’ as a singular pronoun is grammatically correct, TIMP is different.

Instead of focusing on grammar, TIMP focuses on actually using singular they in real life, and on enabling the choice to use gender-neutral pronouns for yourself or for others.

TIMP is dedicated to a few simple ideas:

1. You are not a bad person or homophobic or transphobic or ignorant just because using they stresses you out.

There are many reasons why using they as a singular pronoun is hard. TIMP is about recognizing this and exploring where resistance comes from. TIMP offers suggestions for working through difficulty, and not arguments about why it shouldn’t be difficult.

2. When people respect your choice of pronoun, this feels really good – good enough to make a big difference in someone’s quality of life and well-being.

Most people who have not had to ask others to use a particular pronoun do not realize how good this feels. You can generate so much happiness, make such a large contribution to someone’s well-being, and even make someone feel better about being in a workplace or group or get-together, just by using the pronoun they ask for, and apologizing when you make a mistake. You can make someone want to come back to your office, clinic, store, house, or Facebook page. It is truly astonishing what a difference this can make.

3. Using they gets easier with practice and time, and it is worth it.

So, scroll on down and stay tuned to TIMP for answers to questions from users, allies and curious questioners of all kinds (which I accept, even anonymously, on my twin Tumblr site), reflections and resources on singular they!

If you are a business owner or are interested in receiving some support tailored to your own particular circumstances, whether personal or professional, head on over to They’re Here! – my consulting, training and advocacy company.

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4 comments

  1. Howdy, is this how i ask a question on this blog? heck if i know.
    I am agender. I am transitioning into letting everybody i know that they should not refer to me directly, indirectly, in speech or thought as he/him/sir anymore cause it is incorrect and limiting to me.
    As well, i feel that being adamant about having people recognize that i am not a man nor a woman of that binary, nor am i any other gender, and that i have no sense of gender for myself, is a way of spreading awareness that ‘they/their/them’ is totally okay and right and that gender is a seriously fluid thing if we let it be.
    I feel uncomfortable calling anybody else any pronouns besides they/their/them because i feel that the point of a pronoun is to refer to a specific person, place, or thing without describing it in any way. I am anti misgendering people, so i try not to gender people at all. I am encouraging of understanding the identity of a person to the extent that they feel comfortable with me understanding their identity, but i feel like there is a weird connection between gender and pronouns that seems kind of arbitrary and it affects people’s thinking and conditioning in a super significant way, which i am not really a fan of. I recognize that you shouldn’t call any woman ‘he’, or any man ‘she’ or any non-binary person either of those either….hm, but actually, don’t some people who identify as women prefer ‘he’….and that just seems to take away from the whole point of having a gendered pronoun at all.

    IS IT OKAY TO CALL EVERYBODY ‘THEY’? WHY/WHY NOT? i mean ethically. i feel like some people would mind, and maybe i should be asking a person who DOES go by a gendered pronoun. i feel like im still respecting them and their identities in calling everybody ‘they’ and if they are offended then that may be something that they may need to personally work through, though i don’t want to be a stubborn, insensitive person, i just dont want to cater to every person’s sensitivities. Where would i draw the line? xe is not super easy to read or pronounce, and hir seems like it should be said “her” as in ‘sir’ ‘fir’, which is confusing and seems to take away from part of the idea of a neologism (deliberately designing a new word to articulate something in a super clean manner). I am not willing to honor every person’s neologistic pronouns, such as those listed in the dozens on certain blogs. At that point, i feel like one should just change their name, because again, these are pronouns and are not meant to describe a persons experience or expression or feelings in any way. And if i am not honoring those pronouns, i feel like it is only fair to not honor any special pronouns (xe/ze/she/he included). That would just contribute to the marginalization of those people with unique gender identities that don’t fit into he/she.
    I feel super comfortable acknowledging people’s gender identity and defending it and being like “uh yo what the heck, don’t say ‘he.’ michel is NOT a man. and they** just made that hella clear in their slam poem where they clearly poured out their whole dang heart to demonstrate that to you and the world.” IS THAT OKAY???? it feels so right to speak like that.

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    1. A question many people have right now! Human Rights Commissions don’t actually have the power to sue anyone. They also can’t send anyone to jail. Check out the http://www.nbdcampaign.ca infographics (the blue one answers this question in relation to the federal Human Rights Act, but the response also applies to provincial human rights codes). Thanks for asking!

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