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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
"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"