Re: Evolving language or laziness?

Subject: Re: Evolving language or laziness?
From: Grant Hogarth <GRANT -at- ONYXGFX -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 11:39:48 +8

Hmmm... here's another case in which people deliberately use
gender-ambiguous language (as differentiated from gender-neutral):

Ask a gay, lesbian or bisexual friend about "masking" the gender of
their same-sex partner. Most of them will admit to at least sometimes
using a gender-ambiguous term such as "partner" or they/them to avoid
antagonising people around them. (You never know who's going to turn
out to be a closet homophobe.)

It would be nice if we didn't have to worry about this, but we do.
I've seen suggestions for a "new" gender neutral set of singular pronouns
(ke and kir come to mind), but doubt they'll ever achieve much
currency. (How many people write/translate their docs to Esperanto?)

Insofar as this applies to technical writing, I:
1. Try to avoid gendered pronouns wherever possible.
2. If it's not possible, then I use the same pronoun throughout that
example, but then use the other for the next example. I'm also
cautious about making sure that I don't end up giving one gender all
the positive examples and the other the negative.


Grant Hogarth, Information Developer, Onyx Graphics Corp. Midvale, UT
#include <std_disclaim>

"WORK: Crime is a job. Sex ia job. Growing up is a job.
School is a job. Going to Parties is a job.
Religion is a job. Being creative is a job."
--David Byrne "Stop Making Sense"

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