Happy International Pronouns Day 2019

We live in a world where such iniquities as child marriage, female foeticide, the torture and sexual abuse of teenage boys and the trafficking and enslavement of vulnerable human beings continues unabated, not to mention Turkey’s current offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces, during which dozens of innocent civilians have already died and 150,000 people have been forced to flee for their lives. So here’s an idea:

Let’s celebrate #InternationalPronounsDay!

Last year saw the first observance of this new and special annual event, founded by one Shige Sagurai of the University of Maryland. We learn from the project’s official website, that Sagurai’s pronouns are ze/they. The website also asserts that “referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity”.

It so happens that, as a matter of courtesy, I used to call men who claim a feminine identity “she” without even thinking about it because I didn’t know it mattered. I mean, it wasn’t as if they were actually claiming to be women, was it?

But as someone whose human dignity was completely disregarded by a District Judge called Kenneth Grant and a barrister called Jodie Anderson when they tried to force me to use the preferred pronouns of my violent male assailant, Tara Wood aka Wolf – who does claim to be a woman, even though he is known for calling women ‘cuntface’ and telling us to suck his cock – and having endured abuse ever since because I found that particular instruction impossible to obey, I am less inclined these days to prioritise the feelings of those whose sense of what they are is so fragile that they try to compel others to go along with a falsehood.

Nevertheless, I remain open-minded and open to persuasion that pronouns are one of the major issues of our time and that making such a massive fuss about them will not only save countless lives and ultimately be for the good of humankind, it will also make a lot of self-obsessed people feel better by validating their delusions.

What could matter more?

By the way, in case you miss it, the rather sparse International Pronouns Day website promotes another site, which serves as the Church of Identifarians’ equivalent to the Debrett’s Guide to Etiquette. It tells us all we need to know about – to use one of the most outlandish phrases of the modern world – “respecting people’s pronouns”.

Here’s an example:

If you are meeting someone new one-to-one, you might say something like: “Hi, I’m Akeem, and I go by ‘they’ pronouns. How should I refer to you?

Hi Akeem, I’m Maria and I haven’t got my head so far up my own arse that I give a flying fuck what pronouns you refer to me by. Nice to meet you!

Seriously, if I had a hot dinner for every time I’ve been deliberately misgendered – i.e. referred to as ‘he’ or called a man – over the past couple of years, my bum would be even bigger than it is now. The point I think those who participate in such asinine behaviour are trying to make is how hurtful it is to be misgendered. Well, if I was an adolescent girl agonising over whether I would ever be pretty enough to get a boyfriend, maybe it would be.

But I’m not. Call me ‘he’, call me ‘sir’, call me ‘Man’. Not only does my human dignity not depend on it, I literally couldn’t give a shit.

Anyway, how to mark International Pronouns Day? Among the many helpful suggestions are:

Write an op-ed for a local newspaper, publication, or blog.

Thanks for the suggestion. I hope you are enjoying my blog post.


Post your own pronouns on social media.

Brilliant! There can be no better way to signal that you are probably the most tedious company imaginable and best avoided.


Set up a table and photo booth in a medium/high traffic area and encourage people to take a picture and hold up their written pronouns. Share on social media with the expressed permission of individuals.

And remember that once stuff gets shared on social media you lose control over it. I think a page full of pictures of people holding up signs with their pronouns as a source of levity would make an awesome addition to this site.


Write and send a press release (or request one through your organization), be prepared with talking points, and share with reporters why this day matters for your local communities.

Warning: if you do this you deserve to be mocked mercilessly. In my local community live survivors of a range of human catastrophes from the Jewish Holocaust to the Srebrenica massacre as well as families bereaved by drug-related gang wars. Don’t expect complaints about “misgendering” to win too much sympathy.

No, I had a much more fun idea for marking this extraordinary day… *drum roll*

Wikipedia vandalism!

As I lay sleepless wondering what I could personally contribute to this very special day, it occurred to me that Wikipedia’s page on it could do with some improvement. I proudly present to you the results here.

I hope you all enjoy indulging yourself showing off your pronouns today. I Ieave you with a couple of important videos.



Published 16.10.19

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4 Responses to Happy International Pronouns Day 2019

  • I loved that student video. Humour is a great way to show people up. However, it is vitally important that we show some respect for a fragile, easily offended, near-suicidal, oppressed minority, who respect us by telling us to die in a fire after sucking their dicks. Such respect must be reciprocated.

    I, too, am a linguist, so it surprises me that, besides being ignorant of so many extremely useful pronouns, traditional English words such as ‘cis’ and ‘misgendering’ had escaped being in my vocabulary for most of my life. I hang my head in shame for having spent too long in the real world.

    I’m also puzzled how this radical change of the use of pronouns would work in languages such as Spanish. They’re much more rarely used, because Spanish relies on gender-adjectives instead; for example: ‘Es viejo’ = he is old. (Is old + masculine adjective). ‘Es vieja’ = she is old. (Is old = feminine adjective). Do the more than 300 million Spanish speakers in the world have a new linguistic problem, or do they avoid the problem altogether? Or do they have to say, ‘Es viej%”!**£;$’ ? I foresee this conundrum taking up hundreds of hours of parliamentary time in the Iberian peninsula and South America, but it must be addressed urgently – out of respect.

    I await Brexit at the time of writing. However, I can sleep easy knowing that Brex was ‘assigned gender neutral at birth’ by being called an ‘it’. That is of paramount importance.

  • I just found your blog and I’m glad you’re doing this. Having studied linguistics I feel a particular irritation about this pronoun nonsense.

    In fact, I made a video about it and if it’s all right, I’d like to share a link to it in hopes of adding to the conversation. I want to do what I can to help people understand that mangling language is not the way to achieve peace or justice or anything but confusion.


  • Brilliant as ever! Thanks for making this day complete…..

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