Even as an old-school queer activist, I initially choked a little on using they/them in the singular. Then, after some research and introspection, I realized I was being anal (or a fussy old queen, depending on vocabulary preferences).

They/them has been used in a singular sense for centuries and is a natural part of English for most native speakers. We may have it drilled out of us by prescriptive grammarians, but they’re the same people who tell us not to split infinitives or end sentences with prepositions — also perfectly natural English.

Extending the use of they/them from hypothetical people to real ones may feel a bit odd to some of us, but we can get over that pretty easily if we work at it.

If a fussy old queen like me can do it, anybody can! ;-)

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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