Stop excusing your transphobia by saying it isn’t. You’re wrong.
Preamble: I’m not transphobic, I’m just a language nerd who’s interested in this sort of thing.
In English the ‘singular they' people are talking about is a nominative which is inherently plural despite being rebranded. In the accusative (as in, when who you're talking about is the object of a sentence) it's them.
While I agree that the word is a great way to leave gender out of a sentence, it doesn’t actually help much when referring to a single person. Aside from the fact that if them is the direct object, then (if we’re keeping it gender-neutral) they would be the subject (the nominative).
A typical example from the cited articles:
“If your child is thinking about a gap year, ? can get good advice from this website.
A researcher has to be completely objective in ? findings.”
In both instances, the ?s can easily be ‘they’ and ‘their’ (the possessive of they) without any trouble. But, in both instances you’ve a) defined the Subject (child and researcher) and b) made each subject almost a representative of that kind of person.
English being a fantastically implicit language, we can actually have sentences that don’t contain a Subject at all! We can just say “do the thing” or “yes, I have” or “Where abouts?” or even “went to the store. Got bacon. Ate all the bacon. Shouldn’t have eaten all the bacon.” While that’s all well and good, though, think about this:
You and person X are in a room. Another person (Y) enters the room, hands you a thing, points at X and says “give them the thing”. A speaker of English would, understandably, get the gist of the instruction and hand over the thing to the only available recipient without needing to hear their gender; but that doesn’t mean it’s a good sentence. The them in the sentence implies that the recipient is a) a plural (which clearly isn’t the case, hence the lack of confusion) or b) represents a group/plural, and is somehow accepting the thing on their behalf.
If there were two Xs of whatever gender and Y says “give them the thing”, it’s not clear which singular person is being referred to (other than the pointing that would be going on) or whether the thing is to be shared between them.
If one of the Xs had brown hair and the other had blonde hair, person Y could say “the blonde one. Give it to them” As with the examples from the linked articles, some form of identification has been given to the Subject, and then they can be referred to with ‘they/them’.
Much as I’m a prescriptivist, it’s this sort of thing that (in my humble opinion) lends weight to the creation of genderless pronouns. But then you’d have the intolerable task of deciding when to use the neutral vs gendered!
TL;DR It’s not ”correct English” in the described sense, but you can get away with it so long as you’ve nominated a Subject.
CULTURAL GENOCIDE: Before and After photo of a young Cree boy, forced to attend a Canadian “Indian school.” (1910)
I want to show this to white people who say that cultural appropriation isn’t a big deal because you’re taking a part of someone’s culture that was insulted, attacked and taken away from them for years and years and now you want to wear it as some sort of costume or fashion trend. But your ancestors were the ones to forcefully take away and obliterate OUR cultures for centuries. We STILL aren’t allowed to freely embrace our cultures because white people love to insult us and make fun of us, but white people themselves love wearing it because they think their mayo asses are entitlted to everything. Nope fuck off.
As a representative of white people, I can confirm that yes, we LOVE to wear the cultural attire of indigenous peoples around the world. Sometimes we forego undergarments for that extra little bit of vindictiveness as we feel our sweaty genitalia pressing against something we know and understand to be very important to various groups of people.
Though I shouldn’t really acknowledge its existence, I am a member of the Worldwide League of Evil White People. We are often just referred to as White People. The post above may seem as though someone is generalizing an entire race of people, but oh no, it’s just our organization.
We routinely have picnic lunches which we invite EVERYONE to attend, but then we hold up a Dulux colour chart to everyone who turns up and send away anyone who’s darker than Eggshell, rubbing our hands and laughing into the sky as we do so, our faces covered in cake and jam.
Noob question alert: Wouldn’t having two cards with different names but near-identical effects be good when you’re building decks that only allow one of everything and you’d like to do more with an effect?
The day passes like any other; one minute to the next marked only by the occasional sigh and the now desensitized perception of a notification of new email. Bereft of even the merest shred of hope that your drone-like existence serves a grander purpose, or that your suffering today might lessen the suffering of many tomorrow; you endure.
A twinkle, an after-image of a minuscule spark that might not even have been; it draws your gaze downwards to the small packed lunch that serves to delineate one half of your bland little day from the other. Its contents are invariable. Its appeal infrequent. There it is again. The brief but unmistakable glimmer of a plastic container. Could it be? You trust not to hope that such a thing, such a wonder, could possibly come to pass. The shape is right. The size is right. You can even see the glint of a spoon like the iridescence of a pearl amongst coastal flotsam by moonlight.
Today’s lunch contains chocolate pudding.
Like a tyre-swing over a cool flowing creek; like that first kiss under a tree in Summer, a gentle breeze making the hairs on your skin tingle with exhilaration: your mind, once so forlorn and bereft of hope, is kindled like the ember that sparks a forest fire.
Discarding your woes and diving headlong into the crashing swell of the wave of ecstasy. Like an animal, unheeding of consequence and uncaring of disposition; you tear aside all that stands between you and the promised ambrosia, this gods-given bounty of incomparable delectation that has by providence been placed before you.
Your body weakens. Your every sense battles against a mind that for one moment allowed itself to believe there was any good in this world. You raise the pot in your hand, its sheer plastic surfaces adored with fallen tears which even now course down your face, pulled downwards by gravity as faith is torn from your heart at the realization: you hold in your hand not chocolate pudding….. but low-fat raspberry yogurt.
You peel back the lid of injustice and spoon each treacherous mouthful of the perfidious substance into your quivering mouth; its edges at once taught with the strain of rage and despair. With each new helping of the low-fat raspberry yogurt, its every characteristic an affront to all you hold dear, it lessens within the pot that once held so much hope, but now empties like your erstwhile weakened vitality.
You tell yourself you’ll carry on. You tell yourself it will all be OK. You see through your own lies.
When the chocolate pudding is ACTUALLY chocolate pudding: