Neopronouns: You are valid

A+list+of+neopronouns

A list of some commonly used neopronouns

Taylor Frick

From the time that we’re young, we’re taught that there are only hers and hims. Occasionally you might meet someone who breaks the “normal” binary, and uses they/them pronouns, but there is more than one way to identify as non-binary. Neopronouns are pronouns for people who don’t feel comfortable using she/her, he/him, or they/them pronouns. Some neopronouns that are seen as more socially acceptable include xe/xem/xyr, ze/hir/hirs, or ey/em/eir, but the great thing about neopronouns is that they can really be whatever you want, and you can identify as several. 

Cass, a user of xe/xem/xyrs pronouns said, “I was struggling a lot trying to find pronouns that felt “right” for me that weren’t inherently gendered like they/them. ‘She’ and ‘he’ pronouns were okay but didn’t fit right exactly. I wanted more options so neopronouns were really cool for that purpose. I thought xe/xem pronouns were easy and sounded good on me. When someone used ‘xem’ on me for the first time, I felt really happy, so I kept using them.”

Neopronouns are a form of being non-binary. Non-binary people are people who don’t feel comfortable identifying as either of the binary genders, so therefore use pronouns such as they/them, or neopronouns. 

Oil, a user of some not as common neopronouns, had this to say, “I use a lot of neopronouns but the main ones I like and use are nyaself, girself, purrself, xemself, crayonself, and pawself! I also use emoji pronouns! I use neopronouns for several reasons: I’m cat gender and using cat related pronouns help me feel more comfortable. I like how they sound for me, and they help me express who I am better.” 

Non-binary people, even those who use neopronouns, can also be considered transgender. Transequality.org stated, “Most people – including most transgender people – are either male or female. But some people don’t neatly fit into the categories of “man” or “woman,” or “male” or “female.” For example, some people have a gender that blends elements of being a man or a woman, or a gender that is different than either male or female. Some people don’t identify with any gender. Some people’s gender changes over time.”

Even though in today’s society, neopronouns are misunderstood, neopronouns have been around in literature since the 1300’s. Themicheab.medium.com stated, “Historically there have been two used since the 1300s, specifically ‘ou’ and ‘(h)a.’ For example, “ou will” could mean he will, she will, or it will. ‘Ou’ derives from the Middle English (h)a, which is a reduced form of the Old and Middle English masculine and feminine pronouns ‘he’ and ‘heo’ (yes, she used to be ‘heo’).” 

Neopronouns recently became a topic to debate on the social media platform TikTok. A user going by the name Moth posted a video stating, “yeah I use neopronouns. What are you gonna do, cry?” Moth goes by doll/dolls and teef/teefs pronouns, which caused a large backlash, not only on TikTok, but within the LGBTQ+ community. Some members felt as though even if they couldn’t understand it, they should respect it, but others thought it was a disgrace and made the community look like a joke. Some even started mocking neopronouns by putting things such as didn’t/ask, or shut/up in their bios on the app. 

It was especially shocking that binary transgender people were taking part in this bullying. Many binary trans individuals felt that neopronoun users were invalidating all the hard work the trans community has done to be normalized in society. Some even went as far as to claim people using neopronouns are just cis straight people who wanted to be part of the LGBTQ+ commuinty but don’t actually experience gender disphoria. Oil continued, “How someone chooses to identify doesn’t affect you. Neopronouns aren’t what makes the trans community look like a joke, infighting between us is what makes us look like a joke. Transphobes don’t hate us because we use neopronouns, they hate us because we’re trans.”

As stated by mayoclinic.orgGender dysphoria is the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people might experience gender dysphoria at some point in their lives.” Many non-binary people experience gender dysphoria, except they experience it for she/her and he/him pronouns, and neopronouns users experience it for she/her, he/him, and they/them pronouns.  

Jeffery Baker*, a Bythewood student, falls somewhere in the middle with this issue, “If I’m with you, I’ll call you whatever you want, but I don’t think it should be the job of society to change.” He continued, “society should not be forced to normalize it, because that just goes against the first amendment.”  

Daisy, a non-binary, they/them user disagreed. “Neopronouns should absolutely be normalized!! They aren’t doing any harm to anyone so people should treat them respectfully. They are completely valid and do not damage the trans community. It’s a way for people to express their gender identity.” They continued, “People who blatantly bash neopronouns should read up more about what it really is, because they have no right to bash another person’s gender identity pronouns just because it doesn’t fit the “norm”. They’re doing more harm than the person who uses those pronouns by bashing them.”

When it comes down to it, neopronouns are just a way to express oneself in the truest form. Not understanding something doesn’t give you an excuse to blatantly disrespect it. People who identify with neopronouns do it for themselves, and just because they don’t use common pronouns doesn’t mean they aren’t still people. Neopronouns can be complicated to execute, and you might mess up, but it’s much better to learn from your mistakes, than to  intentionally misgender someone because “it’s too hard.” 

Cass continued, “You cannot pick and choose which of us are worthy of support and validation. If you’re trans, not everyone has the same experiences as you. Once again, there’s no reason you should be against other trans people finding new ways of expression that make them happy. Neopronoun users deserve just as much respect as you do. We should not be against each other and it’s really important trans people give each other support.”

For the LGBTQ+ community: LGBTQ+ people were ostracized for years, because at a time it was considered disgusting and not normal to like the same gender, or to identify with the opposite gender. Telling people who use neopronouns they aren’t valid because you think it’s not normal is doing the same thing to them that was once done to you. This community should support each other, because at its core, it’s all about acceptance.

Names changed to protect privacy*