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One in four queer young people use gender neutral pronouns, eye-opening new survey reveals

Patrick Kelleher July 30, 2020
Sam Smith trevor project

Sam Smith came out sa non-binary last year and told the world that their pronouns are they/them. (JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP/Getty)

One in four LGBT+ youth use pronouns other than he/him and she/her, according to new research.

The survey indicates that LGBT+ young people are increasingly finding different ways to express their gender identities and that many are opting for a mix of pronouns.

The survey, conducted by The Trevor Project, found that 75 per cent of LGBT+ young people exclusively use either he/him or she/her pronouns.

Meanwhile, 25 per cent use gender neutral pronouns such as they/them, either exclusively or as a combination with other pronouns.

The research found that almost two thirds of LGBT+ youth who use pronouns outside the binary use a combination of he/him, she/her and they/them.

The Trevor Project surveyed 40,000 LGBT+ young people between the ages of 13-24 in the United States, asking them: “Which pronouns do you currently use? Please select all that apply.”

Five per cent of respondents said they exclusively use pronouns other than he/him or she/her, with the majority of that group opting for they/them pronouns.

Four per cent of those surveyed reported using pronouns such as ze/zir, xe/xim or fae/faer, or said they use these pronouns in conjunction with others.

The singular ‘they’ has been used in the English language for centuries.

Many people use pronouns such as they/them, xe/xim or fae/faer to better represent their identities.

British singer Sam Smith made headlines across the world last year when they came out as non-binary and said they would be using they/them pronouns going forward.

Transphobes from various quarters have railed against the use of singular they/them pronouns, but the Oxford English Dictionary actually traces the first written use of the singular “they” to 1375 – proving that it is not a new phenomenon linguistically.

Last December, the Merriam-Webster dictionary announced that it had selected the singular “they” pronoun as its word of the year.

Internet searches for the word “they” increased by 313 per cent last year when compared to 2018, proving that more and more people are educating themselves on the importance of respecting people’s pronouns.

 

More: non-binary, pronouns, The Trevor Project

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