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The emperor’s new pronouns

Gender-bending language is hilarious, until you realize its influence


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I’m aware that I picked on CNN just a couple of issues ago. But can I help it if the once-respectable ­network is now a target-rich environment? The latest twaddle: an August article headlined, “A guide to neopronouns, from ae to ze.”

Neopronouns? I thought. I felt a strange bubbling in my chest, which I recognized as the effervescence of brewing laughter.

In the story, writer Scottie Andrew informs us that in addition to old standbys like he, her, and they, the ­following neopronouns are now “relatively common”: e/em/eirs; ne/nem/nears; tey/tem/ters; xe/xem/xer.

The article included helpful examples of how to use these words in everyday speech: “I’m taking em to the park today. Ey wants to bring eir camera to capture the garden for emself!”

IJBOL. (I Just Burst Out Laughing.)

I now interrupt this column to waive the required disclaimer that gender dysphoria is a real thing and that some people really do suffer from it. We are so past that. Honest readers understand I’m not talking about gender dysphoria, but about insanity-adjacent attempts to ­redefine gender via language control.

The New York Times tried it in 2021 with “A guide to neopronouns: Are you a person, place or thing?” It’s the earnestness that’s so hilarious: “Neopronoun users say new terms allow them to engage with gender—or other aspects of identity,” the Times intoned, “in a way that aligns with how they feel.”

It would be one thing if reporters were merely reporting. But no. Both CNN and the Times include neopronoun etiquette lessons. For example, when you first meet someone, you should not trust your eyes or ears or the physical manifestations of DNA, but instead, Andrew writes, “create opportunities for them to share their pronouns by first sharing your own.”

Example: “Hi! My name’s Amelia, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. It’s a pleasure to meet you!”

Translation: “All indications are that you are a human male. However, I will let you disabuse me of any data provided by my five senses or my benighted reliance on science and instead co-sign your delusion.”

Alas, sometimes the go-first gambit won’t work because in this brave, new world, a person’s gender expression may abruptly change. “When you meet someone who uses multiple pronoun sets,” the gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign explains, “you may kindly ask their preferences for when and how to use each of their pronouns.”

Ah, but your troubles still aren’t over since, according to CNN’s Andrew, a person may not identify as, well … a person: “Leaf, sun, star—nounself pronouns are neopronouns that use nature and other inspirations as nonbinary or genderless descriptors. … For someone who uses the nounself pronoun ‘leaf,’ that may look like: ‘I hope leaf knows how proud we are that leaf is getting to know leafself better!’”

OK, now I want to guffaw. But I can’t because of the sources reporters are quoting: “I chose my bink/bonk pronouns because they remind me of clowns,” 13-year-old Gum told The New York Times via Twitter. A 15-year-old said he rejected neopronouns until enough people on the internet convinced him they were “perfectly valid.” Now (he? she?) uses the neopronoun “vamp” because of its “connection to vampires and that in a way feels connected to my gender.”

At this point, I’m thinking millstones, necks, drowning (Matthew 18:6).

According to Andrew, resistance to neopronouns likely stems from anti-trans and anti-nonbinary bigotry. I resist neopronouns because they’re stupid. They’re also anti-science and an attack on God’s design for male and female as revealed in His Word (Genesis 1:27).

The URL for Andrew’s neopronoun piece tags it as a “wellness” story. Hopefully, years from now, this heresy/stumbling block/codswallop will end up on the junk heap of other cutting-edge wellness ideas—like Crisco, cigarettes, and lobotomies.


Lynn Vincent

Lynn is executive editor of WORLD Magazine and producer/host of the true crime podcast Lawless. She is the New York Times best-selling author or co-author of a dozen nonfiction books, including Same Kind of Different As Me and Indianapolis. Lynn lives in the mountains east of San Diego, Calif.

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