Study: gender-neutral pronouns boost positive attitude towards queer people & women

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More than 100 failures litter the battleground that is the hunt for an English gender-neutral singular pronoun. From thon, ip and hiser to hem, ons and lers, the discarded terms have piled up since the mid-19th century.

But the quest for the right word is not in vain, a new study suggests. Using a gender-neutral pronoun, it found, reduces mental biases that favour men, and boosts positive feelings towards women and LGBT people.

The finding marks an easy win, the researchers believe, and shows how a minor change in language can help chip away at long-standing gender inequities.

“Let’s assume there are societies that generally agree on being more inclusive of women and LGBT individuals, and there are more than a few,” said Efrén Pérez at the University of California in Los Angeles. “Our findings suggest that the words we choose to use can matter in getting us a little bit closer toward reaching that ideal.”

Pérez and Margit Tavits at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, explored the impact of gender-neutral pronouns on the views of more than 3,000 Swedes. In 2015, the country adopted the gender-neutral term “hen” to sit alongside the existing terms “hon” and “han”, the English equivalents of “she” and “he”.

Read on…

Comments 3

  1. This “gender neutral” attitutes are insane. Someone is either boy/girl or men/women. Trans people can be called either as their sex or their new “gender”. You don’t hurt nobody. It’s the parents responsibility, whether they let their children play girl stuff or boy stuff resp. let them wear girl/boy clothing. But the have to lead their children. Parents have the responsibility whether their child will be bullied in school or not. I know the swedish “hen” some time already. But what does it say : nothing. It just say, that there is no identity in the live of a person. There is no follow up of this person what is the way for “it”.

    1. You completely missed the point of the study… this isn’t about the pronouns for people whose gender you know, it’s about the pronouns you use for strangers and groups of people to avoid bias.

      No one’s saying you shouldn’t use he or she when you know someone’s gender.

  2. The study fails to research the sources of language use. Dictionary is not definition. It is for use for use for and of actual use. Consider the various uses of the word one. —- Will want your one for this one to one your one after which a one will make you my one. —-S The hiding of actual meanings is as old as language. Your one is not the same as this one;s anf they might dtill make hate their opinion different from most other one’s. &c

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