‘He or she’ is too old school

To the editor:

We should all stop saying and writing the phrase “he or she.”

Those three words support old-school gender dichotomies that clearly aren’t the only ones anymore.

Yes, you can still be a male or a female, but many people today identify as transgender, two-spirit, non-binary, genderqueer, gender neutral and whole lot of other things inside and outside the gender spectrum.

Not everyone likes to be referred to as “he” or “she.” Some individuals like to be referred to as “they.”

Here’s an example for all you sticklers of how you can easily change your phrasing so that it’s more inclusive while also remaining grammatically correct.

“If a person wants a drink, he or she can order at the bar,” can easily transition to “If people want drinks, they can order at the bar.”

Is using “he or she” the worst offense in the world? No, not at all. It’s a simple writing lesson we all learned in middle school and just can’t seem to push out of our brains. Switching to “they” isn’t going to save lives, either, but it is an important building block toward more accepting and inclusive language.

Griffin Kelly

Pearl River


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