Lauren Taylor is a part-time multi-platform editor for WaPo and she doesn’t want you to laugh because she is raising her cats gender-neutral.
She couldn’t understand why she had to call her cats “boy” or “girl” since “they’re cats,” so she decided to use plural pronouns like she does with her “friends, neighbors and colleagues” who are gender-neutral and go by “they,” “their” and “them.”
Apparently her friends, neighbors and colleagues use plural pronouns as singular pronouns. People should be referred to the way they want, she concluded.
As someone with an English lit degree, I object.
Her cats, Essence and Trouble – named for Rare Essence and Trouble Funk, seemed to adjust well but she appears to have been troubled by slips.
ISIS is cutting off peoples’ heads, Iran is building a nuclear bomb, the US is completely divided and our economy is $20 trillion in debt with no end to the spending in sight, but WaPo’s writer is worried about labeling her cats with grammatically incorrect pronouns and relating it to people.
Usually, I’d remember to fix it (“Where’s your sibling?” or “Where’s your pal?”). Just as I’d hoped, I began finding it easier to remember to use gender-neutral language for the humans in my life.And I began to get an infinitesimal taste of what transgender and gender-nonconforming people face. I’m not talking about the outright bigotry and hatred –something I can’t know without being in their shoes — but the complete cluelessness. Friends would come over, I’d introduce the cats and their pronouns, and some would ask, “But what ARE they?” Some would randomly use “he” and “she.” Some would stumble, unable to form a sentence when talking about one of the cats.
When she took the cats to vets, she had to decide what to call the cats so she fell back on her “cis-gender privilege” and used singular pronouns.
It’s necessary to use the wrong pronouns, she says, because people don’t all fit into the “girl” and “boy” box.
What if the cats don’t think they’re cats and want to be treated like gorillas? How does she handle that?
Hello, they’re cats! Dumbest analogy yet?