It's inconvenient that English doesn't have a gender-neutral pronoun, especially when a person's gender is unknown. It seems inappropriate to call the person as "he" or "she" at such situations.

I suggest adopting the "shi/hir" pronoun, which is commonly used in furry fandom.

e.g. "Shi refused to confess." "Hir real purpose is unknown." "I am searching for hir." "All the base are hirs." "Shi loves hirself."


It'll never work.

Every few years, someone thinks "I need a gender-neutral pronoun, but people don't like singular 'they'!" and makes a new pronoun. As a result, we've ended up with this mess.

The pronouns don't stick, because:

  • Most people use singular "they" since it's more familiar and widely used.
  • The new pronouns are often considered twee or grating or confusing.
  • Pronouns are a closed class in English, so it's very hard to establish a new pronoun.
  • There are too many alternatives to standardise on one. Your proposal avoids this particular pitfall by suggesting an Official Stack Exchange Pronoun, but not the others.

Your proposal would simply result in the status quo: most people using singular "they", a handful of people using each of the many neopronouns, some holdovers refusing all gender-neutral pronouns.

Moreover, many people are uncomfortable with neopronouns: if you're trying to express respect of someone, e.g. a non-binary person, imposing an arbitrary pronoun may backfire.

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer. I'll stick to singular "they", then. Oct 10 '19 at 22:39
  • 1
    Alas, this is nowhere-near even a complete list, the can-of-worms which SO opened is so much bigger than they realise, right or wrong - I make no judgment.. Oct 10 '19 at 22:56
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    The first statement is a bit harsh bit the rest is very reasonable. Who knows, maybe in a couple of decades shi and hir is all the hit.
    – Trilarion
    Oct 11 '19 at 12:04

There is no getting people to compromise on this. Trying to mediate only makes everyone angry.

From what I have observed, this is because everyone feels so strongly about it.

I had a similar idea for security, but the security issue took a back seat in people's responses.

Trying to solve this through any kind of middle road is like barking up a tree.

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