Elon Musk doesn’t care about pronouns – unless non-binary people use them

What’s wrong with Elon Musk and pronouns? Sunday’s viral tweet – “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci” – wasn’t the first time the world’s richest man had expressed his discomfort and contempt with one of the most inevitable parts of language. In July 2020, he tweeted “Pronouns suck,” and he tweeted in December of that year implying that people who added pronouns to their social media bios were trying to put pressure on others, and despite the backlash, he refused to apologize. defended by tweeting“I totally support trance, but all these pronouns are an aesthetic nightmare.”

Sunday’s tweet, outgoing White House chief medical adviser Dr. Some of Musk’s following comments were openly directed at trans and nonbinary people. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Responding, “I approve of your Elon pronouns.” Confirming someone’s gender identity is an act of acceptance, validation, and respect, often demonstrated by simple tasks such as using the correct noun and pronouns and not referring to someone’s updated pronouns as “preferred.” Greene’s tweet mocked this basic courtesy.

Jumping on the pronoun backfire train, Musk and others require people to use the pronoun as much as the next person, only pretending not to use it because the pronoun stays the same throughout their lives.

But jumping on the pronoun backfire train, Musk and others require people to use pronouns as much as the next person, only to pretend they don’t use them because the pronoun stays the same throughout their lives. Grammatically speaking, pronouns are noun substitutions or words used to describe ourselves and others without the use of nouns or proper nouns. Without them, our sentence structures would be rather cumbersome and unnecessary. That’s why we use pronouns like you, we, we, I, he, she, and them: to interrupt the use of first and last names and to allow our syntax to flow better.

However, when it comes to malicious jokes and so-called “discussions” about pronouns, no one actually argues that we should eliminate them and refer to each other using only proper nouns. For those who insist on making pronouns problematic, the real issue is not in the concept of the pronoun itself, but in who uses them and whether they change according to the gender assigned at birth, which may differ from one’s gender identity.

This became very clear in Musk’s response to some of the criticisms he faced following Sunday’s tweet. After being told by former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly not to “make fun of or incite hatred against” vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community who “have real feelings” and are often targets of violence, Musk replied“I totally disagree. It is neither kindness nor courtesy to anyone to impose your pronouns on others even if they do not want it, and to implicitly exclude those who do not want to.”

However, what Musk and the likes ignore or fail to understand is that correct pronoun use is all about basic respect and human decency. While many cis people will never have to think twice about which pronoun they use to describe themselves, trans and nonbinary people don’t have the same luxury and will likely need to pass those pronouns to others to avoid being misgendered. It’s not about “forcing” anyone to do anything. It’s about treating trans people with respect. No one would think of questioning Musk’s gender identity or mocking him for using pronouns because that would be wrong and disrespectful. It’s also not difficult to apologize and correct yourself if you unintentionally use the wrong pronoun.

The implication that respecting someone’s pronouns is an imposition that could somehow result in exclusion is also highly unfounded. If you make a mistake, you make a mistake. It is unlikely that someone will hold this against you forever. However, if you go out of your way to intentionally misgender someone, it’s transphobic. If you can’t respect him enough to call him by the correct pronoun name, not because you forgot but because you didn’t want to, you’re transphobic. If that’s the case, people have a right not to want to be associated with you if you don’t respect them or their loved ones enough to treat them with the same dignity and courtesy as you treat other people. Failure to do so is not only offensive and humiliating, but also incredibly dehumanizing. And if you can’t even accept something as simple as someone’s pronouns and identity, you’re making it clear that you don’t support their civil rights and freedoms.

The implication that respecting someone’s pronouns is an imposition that could somehow result in exclusion is also highly unfounded.

The phenomenon of transphobics complaining about and making fun of the use of pronouns by trans people is certainly not new, but it has become more commonplace and is now a common thread among many conservative politicians and commentators (and some Democrats like Bill Maher), both in the press and in the press. cable news and the excuses they find to justify their intolerance are always the same. They’re either pretending to be worried about proper grammar or trying to argue that respecting trans people’s pronouns somehow resembles forced speech, neither of which is true. While this anger typically covers all trans people, no matter what pronouns they use, it is often directed specifically at those who use their/their pronouns, which many would argue is grammatically incorrect.

Although many people are familiar with the use of just “they” as a plural pronoun, it has long been used as a singular pronoun to refer to someone whose gender is unknown. In fact, the singular use of the word “they” goes back to the 14th century. The word “you” has undergone a similar evolution in English grammar, starting as a plural pronoun and later becoming singular.

At the end of the day, it costs nothing to respect someone’s pronouns. If people can’t show someone such simple kindness and courtesy, then it’s theirs, but let’s not pretend that hatred for pronouns has to do with grammar or freedom of expression. It’s about bigotry. And it’s hard to see how Musk was somehow unaware of it. While her first tweet was a malicious copy of a boring and unfunny “joke” about pronouns and gender identity, Kelly’s response to her criticism of this tweet really exposed her malicious intentions. She showed that she completely disregards the rights, existence and humanity of trans and nonbinary people.

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