Grammatical conumdrums

March 20, 2010

Hi there,

The articles in BioEdge are quite diverse. But this is the first time that we have dabbled in English grammar. A Sydney newspaper has reported the first officially androgynous individual, Norrie. Once legally male, he had a sex change operation but she apparently tired of that and is now living without a gender. This poses awkward problems for journalists. Is “it” the gender-appropriate pronoun? That sounds quite disrespectful. Norrie prefers the neologism “zie”.

Well, actually, it’s not actually a neologism, because this is one of a number of possible gender-neutral pronouns which have been floated over the years. None of them have been very successful. If you have any suggestions, please send them along.

Michael Cook


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