Preferred Pronoun

Feminist Literature, 1970

Your human right to be referred to in the third person, plural, or by words you have personally entered into the English language on a whim, which others must use under fear of prosecution, even if they sound like noises from a gurgling infant.

Not a day goes by when the date strange pronouns were allegedly first used is conveniently moved back. The etymology of the increasingly large collection is sporadic — to say the least — but inspired largely by sci-fi literacy. In 1970 “feminist writer” Mary Orovan created “co” from usage observed in a set of Virginia anarcho-comnunist camps, and in 1996 Kate Bornstein introduced ze and hir in a bad novel. The University of Vermont appears to have led the trend of asking in students for their “pronoun” in 2015. It’s been going on for 150 years. It’s never panned out.