Re: Gender-neutral pronouns alternatives for WL.
Now that I'm seeing this post gain some interest, in light of offering more context, I'm opening another vulnerable thread for my #langchat peeps
If you are just finding out about this for the first time, I humbly invite you to read a post where I shared the vulnerable and painful journey that has led me to this point in my career:
Now, if you are already on this topic, and want to know more, here is what I've learned over the years: this is not a case of "us vs them" (Real Academia Española/Académie Française) but an invitation to incorporate alternatives to someone's idiolect.
To really get an understanding on how important this is, you need to pay attention to your Ss stories, like these:
Now, I've mentioned in my #langchat response yesterday that it was uplifting to see how my Dept Head and French teacher was open to the idea of offering "iel" as the equivalent to the Spanish "elle" (pronounced /ˈeʝe/)
Now, it is extremely important to acknowledge the pushback, waves of laughter, jokes, gaslighting, and even microaggressions that some of your native and non-native speakers will express in various forms. Trust me, as a cisgender hetero male native speaker, it gets interesting!
Be patient, open, and kind to those educators who are entering these conversations for the first time. It is not the job of our LGBQT+, Non-binary/gender no conforming to educate us, but we must educate ourselves about gender identity these days, and offer safe spaces...
for all identities to be honored, celebrated, acknowledged, and make no mistake, there will be Ss who are not fully ready to embrace it mostly because of fear or lacking an affinity group.
So, as teachers, we really need to start modeling something as simple as "estos son mis pronombres" when your student first gets to know you, or when you are at a WL conference, or when you are presenting at a virtual webinar. This should be normalized.
So, again, be ready for memes, jokes, sarcasm, and mockery, but if you are really in the job of being an educator, and if you teach a hyper gendered heteronormative "masculino genérico" kind of language, ask yourself again what it means to welcome someone these days?
What does it mean to acknowledge the difference between sex and gender identity? What does it take for an adult like me, growing up in one of the most homophobic, transphobic sexist, racist societies, to finally open up some idiolect possibilities for my non-binary Ss?
What does it take for a WL teacher to not always cite the "academies of the language", which are always in constant flux and adapting to idiolects and expressions that only demonstrate a double standard on what is "acceptable" and what is not?
The way I see it, offering your Ss the alternative "elle" for Spanish classes, or "iel" for French, is more than just an "incorrect" pronoun in a binary world, it's an act of love. It's an act of resistance, solidarity, and a sign that you are growing as an educator. #langchat
You can follow @AbelardoAlmazan.
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