Gender neutral?

Having bemused y’all for a few days with gender-neutral pronouns…

My suggestion was to use thi with a soft th (like the first syllable of theatre) and thir again with a soft th (like the first syllable of thirty) – and, further, to use new symbols, i.e., the Greek letter theta (Θ/θ).

Does it work? Maybe. Maybe not. Read this:

The lurid lights and drunken revelry fell away behind the Cimmerian. Θi had discarded θir torn tunic, and walked through the night naked except for a loin-cloth and θir high-strapped sandals. Θi moved with the supple ease of a great tiger, θir steely muscles rippling under θir brown skin.

(That’s from Robert E. Howard’s The Tower of the Elephant.)

What image does that passage conjure up? Do we see a hero? A heroine? Someone more ambiguous?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this…

About Frank

A Sci-Fi & Fantasy author and lyrical poet with a mild obsession for vampires, succubi, goddesses and Supergirl.
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4 Responses to Gender neutral?

  1. It’s an interesting one. I think the theta works better than the th, in terms of not interrupting the reader’s flow.

    As far as the quote goes, I’m thinking it was originally written in the masculine, just because of the imagery (strength, loin-cloth, tiger, steely, etc). Although, it could be a sort of Amazonian warrior woman??

    • Frank says:

      Thanks for commenting!

      My feeling – a very uncertain one, however – is that there is a slight feminine bias to θir that makes that image of an Amazonian warrior woman seem more natural than the image of Conan the Barbarian.

  2. Not to sure that these gender neutral pronouns work all that well, although I prefer thi and thir to theta…

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