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So you want to write a non-binary character?

What if--on your created world--there were more than two distinct genders? What third person pronouns would you use?

Many people on our real world Earth identify with neither male nor female classification. Or with both genders. Gender is, after all, a cultural construct and is, therefore, adaptable. What pronouns would these individuals prefer you use when speaking or writing about them?

Having a binary gender system, which includes two opposite and disconnected forms, has often led to unhealthy stereotyping and social boundaries. Also, this concept excludes individuals who are born with non-binary reproductive organs, or who identify with a gender inconsistent with their reproductive organs, or who just don't approve of being that specific about something very personal. How do we show respect to these individuals in our writing?

When writers create new worlds, they create cultures, climates, governments, creatures, etc., which can be very different from the ones we know on Earth. These writers strive to make these created aspects of their writing believable and relatable. If this acceptance is possible in stories about our make-believe worlds and characters, it follows that it is within human beings to find acceptance for a nonbinary gender system within our own world.

There are many, many languages that include gender-neutral pronouns. Why not English? Why are we so limited in this area?

Next time, I will discuss many of the proposed solutions to this dilemma for English writers. In the meantime, you can find many articles, blogs, and Websites on this concept. You only have to think of looking.

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