Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
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21-03-2017, 09:01 PM
Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
'Ey guys. I've got a question for anyone who considers themselves "non-binary," or "genderqueer."

I'm writing a fiction story, and I'd like to include a non-binary character. To my limited understanding, the various gender-oriented pronouns are accepted or rejected based on individual preference. (If I'm wrong, please feel free to correct me) I'm not incredibly concerned about that aspect, because I'm referring to my character by their gender-neutral surname throughout the work. However, I'm running into a problem when describing what this character is literally doing within the story. Meaning, if I want to write, "Taylor spilled the bottle on her jeans," I don't know which determiner (in this example, "her") to use. I want to be sensitive to those who don't identify as male or female - which is the whole point of including the character in the first place - but in a literary context, I'm not sure how to physically write this. I've entertained the idea of alternating between "his/him/he's" and "her's/her/she's," but I feel that would only confuse the reader, rather than lead them to the implicit understanding that the character is non-binary. I've considered, also, using "their/they/them," but that feels too on-the-nose. I want to make things readable for the masses, because 1) most artists in general want a wide audience, and 2) I want to normalize the presence of various gender/sexual minorities in our society. To do so, I feel I need to be more subversive than blatant. I'd like the story to be taken on its own merits, rather than as an overall political statement.

Ultimately, I'm just not sure how to write it. If anyone is of a non-binary lifestyle, or is friends with someone who is, your input would be greatly appreciated. Thumbsup

*Note: If this would fit more appropriately in another section, admins are obviously free to put it there.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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21-03-2017, 09:10 PM
RE: Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
I think that's really cool of you, that you want to include that in your writing. I have no idea how to answer your question, just wanted to say that.

I'm from California.... so I kinda just call EVERYONE dude..... human ... dude.... animal.... dude....alien..... duuuuuude........ Odin.... DUDE!

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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21-03-2017, 09:37 PM
RE: Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
Don't ask me how I know this shit.

Ok, I read a lot of smut. While reading one such story I came across words I didn't know. I had to google....

http://thetab.com/2015/09/01/uni-swaps-h...hirs-51954


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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21-03-2017, 09:40 PM
RE: Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
(21-03-2017 09:10 PM)JesseB Wrote:  I think that's really cool of you, that you want to include that in your writing. I have no idea how to answer your question, just wanted to say that.

I'm from California.... so I kinda just call EVERYONE dude..... human ... dude.... animal.... dude....alien..... duuuuuude........ Odin.... DUDE!

It just bugs me that any time an LGBT or otherwise "minority" character is depicted in film, books or TV, they tend to fall into one of two categories: 1) The minority protagonist who's in the story specifically because of their orientation or lifestyle, and the story is intended to shed light on their struggle, or 2) The punchline, used to get a laugh out of the fact that they're gay, or because they're transgender, or because of whatever "unorthodox" lifestyle they follow. (See: literally any gay character in any movie ever)

I just feel like, maybe these sorts of people are tired of either being the centerpiece in some social statement, or the comedic relief due to their orientation or lifestyle. Maybe they just want to be a normal, part-of-the-plot character for once. No special attention drawn to their preference; no pushing them into irrelevance so that they're just there for kicks. I imagine they grow tired of being the "token X character."

Besides, as I said, I feel like it's a better way to normalize them in our society. Refraining from drawing special attention to them, but also not maintaining the idea that they're just there to ridicule. They're just another character in the story - they just happen to be gay, or trans, or non-binary, or whatever other minority has still yet to gain a solid footing in our society.

Maybe some would think that I'm assuming too much in how to go about navigating the matter, but that's how I want to express my art. I'm not taken aback when I meet such people, so maybe my readers shouldn't be, either. I just need to craft my work in such a way that minorities are seen as normal, and hope that society will follow.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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21-03-2017, 09:45 PM
RE: Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
(21-03-2017 09:37 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Don't ask me how I know this shit.

Ok, I read a lot of smut. While reading one such story I came across words I didn't know. I had to google....

http://thetab.com/2015/09/01/uni-swaps-h...hirs-51954

I actually really like this. Readers might not know what the words mean, so they'll (hopefully) be compelled to research it a bit. This can only expose them to a wider range of ideas. Thumbsup

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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21-03-2017, 09:46 PM
RE: Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
(21-03-2017 09:40 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  
(21-03-2017 09:10 PM)JesseB Wrote:  I think that's really cool of you, that you want to include that in your writing. I have no idea how to answer your question, just wanted to say that.

I'm from California.... so I kinda just call EVERYONE dude..... human ... dude.... animal.... dude....alien..... duuuuuude........ Odin.... DUDE!

It just bugs me that any time an LGBT or otherwise "minority" character is depicted in film, books or TV, they tend to fall into one of two categories: 1) The minority protagonist who's in the story specifically because of their orientation or lifestyle, and the story is intended to shed light on their struggle, or 2) The punchline, used to get a laugh out of the fact that they're gay, or because they're transgender, or because of whatever "unorthodox" lifestyle they follow. (See: literally any gay character in any movie ever)

I just feel like, maybe these sorts of people are tired of either being the centerpiece in some social statement, or the comedic relief due to their orientation or lifestyle. Maybe they just want to be a normal, part-of-the-plot character for once. No special attention drawn to their preference; no pushing them into irrelevance so that they're just there for kicks. I imagine they grow tired of being the "token X character."

Besides, as I said, I feel like it's a better way to normalize them in our society. Refraining from drawing special attention to them, but also not maintaining the idea that they're just there to ridicule. They're just another character in the story - they just happen to be gay, or trans, or non-binary, or whatever other minority has still yet to gain a solid footing in our society.

Maybe some would think that I'm assuming too much in how to go about navigating the matter, but that's how I want to express my art. I'm not taken aback when I meet such people, so maybe my readers shouldn't be, either. I just need to craft my work in such a way that minorities are seen as normal, and hope that society will follow.

Once I got used to it, I had little problem with it. It's a nice touch to make a story for everyone.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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22-03-2017, 08:15 AM
RE: Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
You could switch between "her/him" "he/she" on subsequent references.

#sigh
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22-03-2017, 08:56 AM
RE: Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
In addition to the pronouns linked above, some people solve the problem by using the gender-neutral plural--"them", "their" (that makes my teeth grind). Using it as the pronoun would probably be considered dehumanizing.

You might get around the problem by switching to first or second person, but that would still make it difficult to describe other characters.
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22-03-2017, 09:14 AM
RE: Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
I think what moms said works. With that said, though, some non-binary folks (NB, or enby for short) are okay with he/him or she/her pronouns. It depends on the person. If you want to be subversive, you could simply have it brought up in a conversation where the character states that they think of themselves with whatever pronouns (zi, zir, they/them, he, her, etc.) but state that they are okay with other people referring to them with another set of pronouns that they are more comfortable with. That might get confusing to read, though. /shrug

You could read some fan-fic or shorts from non-binary writers and see how they handle it (I wouldn't know where to suggest you start other than twitter or tumblr or blog posts to find enby authors, though). And then just pick whichever way flows best with your story and character.
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22-03-2017, 10:52 AM
RE: Non-Binary/Genderqueer Pronouns and References
To be entirely honest, I've always just gone with whatever the person presents as (present as a female use female pronouns), no one has ever complained about this. I try to be sensitive, and like.... I will usually ask if I get a chance if they are bothered by it. Again I've never gotten a complaint, but.... some people might not like it. Idk.... (I'm not out to offend people, so if they tell me they'd prefer something different I will)

I know when I play female in games I want people to use female pronouns (I'm kinda big on RP), and I play female a lot in games.
When I play male in games I want people to use male in pronouns.

Also I really do use dude a lot if you hadn't noticed, I've never gotten complaints about this either, though sometimes people make fun of me for it. It really is a Californian thing.... Kinda like Hella or Hecka. I can tell you what part of California a person is from based on their use of these slang terms.

For a book, I think Moms suggestion would be best cause it would.... stand out more in written form.... if that makes sense. Less chance of the reader forgetting.

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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