Gender-neutral Pronouns

Let’s talk about pronouns. First-person pronouns are pretty straightforward: “I/me” and “we/us”. In English, since we no longer differentiate between second-person singular and second-person plural, using “you” for both, we get into a bit of trouble now and then. There’s a persistent sense that we need to be able to distinguish between the two sometimes for clarity, so we end up with “y’all” or “you guys” or any number of dialectical variants. We’re missing a pronoun that we clearly feel that we need. That’s more of an issue when speaking or addressing others directly, however. When it comes to narrative …

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Pansexual, not bisexual

I originally wrote this back in Sept 2015 for an online magazine to which I submitted a few short pieces. I’ve spent some time thinking about whether it really belongs here. I’ve decided that, while it isn’t specifically about writing as such, it does make a point about the importance of a single word, a label, in self-identity. This matters, or should matter, to anyone whose writing involves character diversity, and not only in regards to orientation or gender. Reposted here with a few small corrections. When I first realized, a bit over two decades ago, that I wasn’t straight, I …

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Writing Diversity

I’m very big on diversity in writing, particularly when it comes to fantasy and science-fiction. Our dominant, mass-media-driven culture is keen on portraying “normal” (=”good and right”) in very restrictive terms. (I’ve talked about this elsewhere.) With humanity still struggling with our tragic history of hatred and bigotry and many of us trying our best to get past that (unfortunately, far too many seem quite content to wallow in it), value judgements disguised as entertainment only undermine the slow climb towards equality. That said… “political correctness” kills creativity. Before you lynch me or stop reading, please understand. I’m not advocating …

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Assumptions: Gender and Sex

Everyone has basic assumptions about the world around us. We have to; they’re a part of how we keep functioning. When you’re writing, however, and especially if you’re writing speculative fiction of any sort (speculative fiction is an umbrella term for fantasy, science fiction, and anything else that doesn’t fit precisely into either but is nonetheless outside “normal reality”), it’s a good time to take a look at your own assumptions. Speculative fiction is, after all, about transgressing the normal rules. I’m not going to try to give specific instances of these, mainly because there are so many I’ve long …

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