Can someone explain They/Them pronouns to me?

I realize this is a delicate subject, but please understand I am coming from a place of genuine ignorance, not hate. I consider myself open-minded and am supportive of people doing whatever expressing themselves in whatever ways they wish to pursue happiness. I simply do not understand the use of they/them pronouns, unlike transitioning from one binary to the other, it breaks basic grammatical conventions, and draws attention to one's "trans-ness".

I simply do not understand why one would wish to centre themselves out, and to my ears sounds "they/them" even sounds pejorative. 

Again, apologies if this question is offensive, that is not at all my intent.

15 Answers

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  • 4 weeks ago

    Just go with the flow. If somebody insists on they/them, go along with it, it's only polite. If it annoys you, ask them why they insist on it and debate it with them. At least you'll get an answer straight from the horse's mouth.

  • 1 month ago

    I don't understand your reasoning of this may be offensive.  Its ridiculous this question is not about grammar at all.  

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    They / Them are the pronouns you use when someone has a mental disorder causing them to have multiple personalities.

  • 1 month ago

    they/them pronouns are what people use when they don't feel comfortable being called by she/her or he/him pronouns

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  • Phil M
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    This whole childish use of certain pronouns and changing their meanings is getting tiresome. I don't care how people live their lives. I will not change how I speak to please them.

  • 1 month ago

    It's pretty simple.

    If someone prefers the pronouns 'they/them', then (out of respect) use those pronouns when referring to them.

  • 1 month ago

    They/them is simply a generic third person singular pronoun used for animate nouns.  It's been used that way since the Middle Ages and has no particular association with gender identity.  Someone using "they/them" isn't necessarily trans, in fact they almost certainly aren't.  It's similar to the use of "you" to refer to the singular, which has arisen in conjunction with the disappearance of "thou".  They/them doesn't break grammatical conventions.

    This is really a matter of grammar and usage and has little to do with LGBT issues.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I get that it seems weird at first but they/them has been used as a singular for a very long time. I you order pizza you might say "when will they be here". Or you might say "who left their books here?". Or if you are waiting on a call from a company but don't know what gender person will call you might think "when will they call me". So lets replace he/she pronouns with they for a person you know. You might say things like "when will they be here", "did they leave their books here?" or "they said they would call". See how its the same? Its really not as odd as it seems at first and you get used to it. 

    It does draw attention to a persons "trans-ness" but that really isn't a bad thing overall. It can be bad if the person is not safe revealing they are trans but other than that its not a problem at all. 

    "I simply do not understand why one would wish to centre themselves out"

    And this is why many enbies don't even bother correct someone and instead just die a little inside each time someone uses the wrong pronoun. Non-binary people do not want to be the center of attention because they are non-binary. They want they/them pronouns to be normalized so nobody cares that people use those pronouns. The enbies that do mention it do so because using the wrong pronouns is uncomfortable. I am going to assume you are a guy based off your username. If everyone started calling you she/her wouldn't you feel uncomfortable with that? Maybe not at first but imagine if for years and years and everybody always uses the wrong pronouns. It wears on a person. 

    Thanks for trying to understand instead of being a d*ck about it. I am not non-binary myself but I know a few and they really just want to be treated like normal people and given the same respect you would give to a man or woman. 

  • Craig
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    In addition to what Anon has said, I also use "they"/"them"/"their" when I want to avoid the convention of using "he" as the suitable pronoun for all "Mankind".  (Having lived in an era when males were unquestioningly considered the exemplars of Mankind, and females were considered as accessories for males, I've resolved not to unthinkingly abet that view, if I can avoid it.)

    But I think you are more interested in the use of 3rd person plural pronouns with respect to transgender people, aren't you?  I'm afraid I can't help you, there.  It seems to me that I might upset a transgender person if I told her or him I didn't accept his or her actual gender - but that has nothing to do with pronouns because in talking to the transgender person I would HAVE to use the 2nd person (you)..not ANY 3rd person pronoun, at all!  Even if someone insists on being addressed as a plurality, that's STILL "you".  (I suppose I could go with "y-all" or "yinz" or "youze".) I'm sure no transgender or non-binary person wants me to greet them with "Hi!  How're THEY doing?  What've THEY been doing today?"  

    So, the only time I might use 3rd person is in REFERRING TO the person, while speaking to SOMEONE ELSE.  And it seems to me that using incorrect pronouns in referring to someone who isn't there can't result in legitimate offense, because that person can't hear me, or be impugned by my verbal slip-up.  (I personally don't care to react to the feelings of someone who gets outraged at a perceived slight of one of their acquaintances.  In my book, they either are attention-seeking, or they really need to grow a thicker hide.)

    So I don't get it, either.  In any case, if someone can explain how to avoid wearing on others by using "they", I would be glad to learn.  I assume it has no applicability when speaking in the 2nd person.  I'd particularly like to understand what I'm supposed to do when referring in the 3rd person to someone who I know to be cisgender, and also to someone who I have no reason to believe is NOT cisgender.

  • Matt
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    it's not just used by transsexuals people, it is used by anyone who feels that their sexuality does not fit into the binary categories of feminine and masculine 

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