Why I use “they” when writing


The other day, I got a paper back in which I had been marked down for using the word “they” to speak of “Soldier” in the singular voice.

Here’s why – I am intentional about using gender neutral language when speaking about gender neutral things. If I am actually talking about a man – I’ll use masculine. If I’m talking about a female – I’ll use feminine.

However, when writing about commanders (CDRs), Soldiers, and Chaplains, I am inclusive about it. I’ve had female CDRs and certainly have experienced both male and female Soldiers and Chaplains. However, I consistently experience educated, thoughtful people referring to ALL CDRs, ALL Soldiers, and emphatically ALL Chaplains as… “He”.

The other day in class, I could barely suppress my annoyance when I pointed out, yet again, out loud and in class to the professor that not ALL my Soldiers were men.

And again, I say, “Really? You have to be reminded of that? In 2014??”

So here is a great video that highlights how the plural word “they” is increasingly being used as a gender neutral pronoun… even in the singular.

I’ll keep using it. Thank you very much.

Gender Neutral Pronouns …: http://youtu.be/46ehrFk-gLk