@Chawsee - very well put and balanced. I don’t get non-binary either, though I’m trying to understand it, since it’s part of the lives of my beloved niece and nephew. Both my niece’s boyfriend (live-in) and my nephew identify as non-binary. Both recently changed the names they wished to be called.
My niece is 27; her boyfriend has used they/them pronouns in the 2+ years that he’s been romantically involved with my niece (who is very feminine in appearance and manner, and 100% heterosexual to my knowledge; a bright, well-educated, well-employed cheerful young woman). As far as I can discern, they enjoy a conventional heterosexual sex life. He (oops, They) recently adopted a gender-neutral nickname that was his nickname as a kid. Fortunately, their full given name supports use of this nickname.
My nephew (23) came out as bi-sexual, and his parents fully accept him. He’s in college, has only dated girls, and has a current girlfriend. He recently adopted they/them as his pronouns and prefers to be called by a name that is decidedly female, although it incorporates part of his boyhood nickname.
I’m consistently liberal politically, though I don’t fit into the aggressively progressive mode of AOC or my own representative. I adore my niece and nephew, and I admire fully how their parents (my brother and sister-in-law) raised them. I also know some prople of various generations whose identification as NB makes sense to me. But I have trouble seeing the non-binary identification of my nephew and niece’s boyfriend as anything other than a fad, inspired by the zeitgeist of their college experience.
I’ve also had difficulty with they/them pronouns from the start on grammatical grounds; the usage seems illogical and I get confused at timed holding a conversation with my relatives where I keep expecting more than one person to be the reference. For example, when I wrote they/them to refer to my niece’s boyfriend, it was ambiguous whether I was referring just to them (the boyfriend) or them (the couple).
As a writer, I’m not as strict with pronouns as Winston Churchill, but I long for the certainty and logic of the former “accepted English.” But I also know that accepted English makes women seem invisible when “man” is used to mean “person” (even though that’s its etymological origin). I try to write with gender inclusive language, without resorting to he/she or other ungainly usages. As a lawyer, I revised my contract templates accordingly.
I think I need to put these questions directly to my niece and nephew, in a totally non-judgmental manner (questions, not statements) and hope that I’ll learn something that helps me understand what this truly means in their lived and why it is important to them.
This is the first time (I think) I’ve written something on SN that doesn’t have anything to do with spanking. I suppose I could do so by mentioning that no one in my family (immediate or extended) knows about my fetish.
Thanks, Chawsee, for your comment that got me thinking and writing.