Thanks for your post. I’m fluent in German, having learned it as a second language before enrolling in German language university courses in Munich and Salzburg. I’ve also tutored it some. The grammar is quite difficult at the beginner and intermediate level. After a look at your link, I’d say asking your fellow students to learn this too out of respect for you is a pretty big ask. If they didn’t or can’t manage it, please don’t feel they are denying your existence.
Perhaps we could start by having some standard convention for what non-binary pronouns we use, rather than everyone picking the ones they want. If you expect people to accommodate you, it is the least we could do in return. Here is a list of some of the ones I’ve collected for English:
- He/She — Zie, Sie, Ey, Ve, Tey, E
- Him/Her — Zim, Sie, Em, Ver, Ter, Em
- His/Her — Zir, Hir, Eir, Vis, Tem, Eir
- His/Hers — Zis, Hirs, Eirs, Vers, Ters, Eirs
- Himself/Herself — Zieself, Hirself, Eirself, Verself, Terself, Emself
(Note: my spell checker thinks these are misspelled words)
Frankly, a little reality check is in order. Even if we had one standard non-binary pronoun convention (maybe Académie Française, but there is no equivalent in German or English), there would still not be general adoption. There are just too few non-binary people for the rest to care enough. Close friends and relatives and politically correct people will indulge you, but it won’t catch on.
What is the end game with these pronouns — realistically? Surely, you don’t want non-binary people to struggle with imposing pronouns on the other 99% their whole life. This is a well-written article, but not interesting enough to get many claps or comments. Evidence enough that for very few people is non-binary pronouns even a thing.
Wouldn’t it just be easier to just not be offended when someone genders you? Think of it more as mispronouncing your name. Yes, it would be nice if people would get it right. But it does not mean they don’t respect you or deny your existence.
I live and work in Asia now and some people have very difficult names. They often just use a nickname with associates and strangers. They only expect friends and family to correctly pronounce their name when not in their home country. When there is no offense intended, there should be none taken.
Maybe you’d like to learn Mandarin or a Bahasa language. These (and many others) don’t have gendered pronouns in the first place. Our best hope, in my view, is to use IT for everyone in English. Just ES in German would sure make the lessons a lot easier too.