Continuing my Series of the singular pronoun “They”, I’d like to turn the conversation to friends!
You are a nonbinary person’s best friend. Maybe you’ve known them your whole life, or two years. Maybe you’re their peer in a college class, a coworker at their occupation, or just an acquaintance that wants to respect them as someone that could become your friend, that’s cool too!
Using your friend’s ‘They’ pronouns is an amazing thing you can do to support them, and help society as well by normalizing it in typical conversation.
You might not know much about singular ‘They’, and using it might sound weird for someone you’ve known a while, but if you care, it becomes way easier.
However, it does take work. You might mess up, but that is okay. Focus on what you and your nonbinary friend do to hang out or relax. Think about those late night convos you’ve had or the jokes you’ve told at work. Now try to think about them again while saying them with the ‘They’ pronouns instead.
“They said they didn’t like that food but we had it anyway cause we were so hungry!”
“I remember when they insisted they were going to steal my cat. Now they have Mr. Whiskers!”
“They were always the tattletale, but I was rebellious.”
“They did an amazing job with that display. Their best work!”
“They’ve worked here so long, they deserve a raise!”
“I love them, they’re my they-bae.”
The more time you spend with your they-friend, the more literate with ‘They’ you will be. Make sure that you’re still making an effort when you don’t see them for a long time though, it can hurt your person’s feelings if they have to remind you, their friend, who they are.
This is going to happen, and your friend knows this! They have mentally prepared for it but that doesn’t mean they are immune to the dysphoria and pain it can cause to be misgendered. Make sure you are somewhat consistently aware of your person’s identity if you can’t be aware all of the time. Eventually using ‘They’ will become natural and your friendship will blossom brighter because of it!
Make sure you and your nonbinary friend talk about which friends/people in their life they are out to before you go around saying ‘They’ around some of their other friends and their family! Respecting the boundaries around their identity is very important, especially if you’re both under 18, with school, home, and other activities that could go awry if they are outed.
If they do say you can mention them being nonbinary with others and they’re out publicly as a nonbinary person, they might want you to stick up for them! Ask your nonbinary friend what you should do if someone misgenders them, and how you can help them in the process of helping others understand their ‘They’ pronouns.
Respect and acceptance for the nonbinary person is the key to using singular ‘They’ pronouns and helping others understand the meaning and the method that is important to this rapid adaptation to the English language, and to include Nonbinary and Genderqueer people in society.
Featured Image: Vice-Gender Spectrum
Caption: “A group of friends of varying genders gossiping”