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    #1

    The new gender traffic lights in London.

    I am an older person and got involved in a discussion re the new gender traffic lights in London. At some point I referred to the varying genders as them. This led to an onslaught of verbal abuse in that I am being homophobic for using the word `them` as a reference to other genders.

    I may be older and out of touch but I cannot for the life of me see this as being derogatory in any way as this (in my opinion) word is quite correct in referring to any group of people or things.

    I suppose I am asking what is the correct use of the word `them` with regard to modern acceptance and specifically to alternative genders.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Maybe OTT, hopefully not against forum policy

    It's not very clear to me what question you are actually asking.

    If you are asking whether they/them/their is acceptable with reference to a singular person, the answer is 'yes' for most of us. If that's not your question, then could you try again, please?

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    #3

    Re: Maybe OTT, hopefully not against forum policy

    If anybody's wondering what scudo means by 'the new gender traffic lights in London', click here.

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    #4

    Re: Maybe OTT, hopefully not against forum policy

    Thanks for your reply Piscean. This is the actual wording used.

    "Having mixed with part of that scene for so many years (50+) and in that time society has called them many different names depending on the flavour of the month I have no idea what the current required politically correct name should be as I have never had any need to label them any more than I would other friends."

    ""Gays or whatever we have to call them these days".. What the hell do you mean by that, you offensive old homophobe"

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    #5

    Re: Maybe OTT, hopefully not against forum policy

    Thanks for the link Rover KE, I should have included that in my post as a point of reference.

  2. Skrej's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Maybe OTT, hopefully not against forum policy

    It sounds like you've encountered somebody with a chip on their shoulder who's looking for an argument.

    Particularly since you were just speaking about your acceptance of that lifestyle and how you define people by friendship rather than lifestyle, I can't see why it should be offensive.

    Perhaps they took offense at the phrase 'whatever we have to call' rather than the pronoun itself? Maybe they thought you were suggesting expressing distaste at being forced to accept something? Again though it seems like they weren't listening carefully to what you'd just said.

    I wouldn't think very much of it. 'Them' is the correct third person plural object pronoun, whether people like it or not. Not sure what else one could say, other than replacing the pronoun with its antecedent, which kind of defeats the purpose of pronouns.

    As Piscean said, third person plural pronouns are becoming widely accepted in use in lieu of the more traditional first person singular masculine pronoun anyway.

    It's been my experience that the people crying 'foul' the loudest are often trying to deflect something else.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #7

    Re: Maybe OTT, hopefully not against forum policy

    Discovering new ways to take offense is a popular activity in the communities community. When the OP ("original poster") called certain individuals them, he provided said individuals the opportunity to become victims of the grave offense of "othering", the separation of a set of individuals into a potentially oppressed community of others.

    This game can be played endlessly.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Maybe OTT, hopefully not against forum policy

    It's quite possible that someone has inferred that you were saying something like, "He's one of them", which is a rather outdated use of 'them' that I haven't heard in a while. I have to admit that those lights are rather provocative, or would be in Australia. (I suppose we can discuss semiotics here?)

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    #9

    Re: Maybe OTT, hopefully not against forum policy

    Thanks to all for their input. English was never a `best` subject for me at school so the explanations have been most helpful.
    I find it intriguing how the use of just one word `them` can throw a different slant on a conversation depending on ones interpretation.

    Thanks to all.

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    #10

    Re: Maybe OTT, hopefully not against forum policy

    I use them as a non-gender specific pronoun - someone has left their umbrella. However, we are moving into a world of greater gender fluidity and this will affect pronoun use. Calling someone a homophobe for not being up-to-date with the latest trend is an annoying aspect of PC, though I do favour the ideas of politeness and inclusion. The pronouns field is unsettled at the moment and nothing has been finalised, so any self-appointed source of correctness is merely offering an opinion. Let's see where things stand in a few years. I think that changes will be made to accommodate things, just as they were thirty years ago when the use of he/man, etc was questioned. Something better will probably emerge, but the finger-pointing evangelists are too quick to be judgemental.

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