Kristin and I went on a long hike/walk on Thursday morning. Elka came along, but there is no photo of her. We went to the same spot we’ve been to before, but somehow instead of a walk through the woods near a lovely stream, it seemed like we spent the entire time in view of buildings and roads which were not devoid of traffic. We tried to loop around in different directions, but we were unable to find the stream that we’ve walked next to at least 2 or 3 times in the past. Kristin is my sporty friend, a runner, a stand-up paddleboarder and a hiker and also a weekday available friend. I’m going to buy a SUP for myself for Christmas because of the beautiful trip she took me on with a SUP borrowed from her sister and because I want to go with her in the summers to come.
Kristin has a child who goes by they/them pronouns. Vince has a friend who goes by they/them pronouns and I have a few more friends whose kids who go by they/them pronouns. As we are all allies, we try to use they/them pronouns all the time, but because we are old-brained allies, this tends to be harder in practice than we anticipate. So we try, valiantly, to use they/them and we try to self-correct. I was telling Vickey of the story of Vince and his friend who were in a car accident a few weeks ago and she (meaning Vickey) had no problem correcting me whenever I veered into the gendered singular pronoun and it was embarrassing how many times she had to do it. But then you can lose clarity where there are two people – which Kristin and I both acknowledged. For example, – then they went to urgent care. But do you mean they plural (the two of them) or they singular (meaning Vince’s friend?) – so I was constantly backtracking and clarifying and trying to insert more proper nouns into the story. I was trying to think if there were two he/hims in the car accident story, there can also confusion, but I think I’m just used to inserting enough proper nouns at the right time to maintain clarity in the story and I’m not used to the frequency that I need to do that particular proper noun substitution for a singular they/them. Do the kids know how to do that with ease? Probably.