Welsh town elects world's first non-binary mayor

Originally published at: Welsh town elects world's first non-binary mayor | Boing Boing


I love everything about this. Thanks for making my day, Boing Boing.


now this truly is a wonderful thing.


I applaud this but came here to say: We really need to find a better set of pronouns. “They” just irritates me no end because that is plural and it immediately screws up my reading brain. Singular/plural antecedents get mixed up and my brain assumes I misread and stops until I can reboot.

Maybe someday it’ll feel natural and it won’t discombobulate me, but right now I hate hate hate the usage of “they” for gender-neutral pronoun usage.

And, no, I don’t have a better alternative, I just know I don’t like this solution.


Good for them!

Their statement also makes me want to get back to that Welsh Duolingo course I started


That is a lost battle. Yes, there are alternatives but they were never that popular with non-binary and agender people, never mind cis people.

Secondly, there is a long history of using they as a singular pronoun. Are you going to tell me Chaucer and Shakespeare were wrong?

Finally, You is also plural. Thou is the singular, but unless thou are visiting parts of the North of England thou aren’t going to hear it or any variants of it much.


“They” is the only gender-neutral third person pronoun that sounds natural enough to my ears, and does have a fine pedigree. If someone tells me they prefer something different for themselves, of course, I’ll do my best to honor that.




Yeah, I know. Like I said, I don’t have a BETTER alternative (though this is why I love the Latinx “made up word” … it doesn’t offend my learned rules of language!).

NOTE: The closest I’ve seen to an alternative that doesn’t break my brain is (s)he, but I also get that it implies a two gender system and doesn’t support a non-gender/non-binary system. Like I said, I don’t have a solution, but I really wish we had something different than THEY.

NOTE2: I fully expect that 10 years from now, this will sound just fine to my brain as the human brain/language center is an amazingly flexible tool, so this mini-rant will sound quaint and grumpy to me then. Ok, it’s quaint and grumpy NOW, but it expresses how my brain gear locks on the pronoun right now.


But mostly only where the identity of the actual individual is not known. “They vandalised my car” when we do not know who did it and whether it is a he or a she, or indeed multiples thereof, being a they.

(Some will say it is also used a singular pronoun for things like corporate entities, but that is misuse. Saying about this or that company or organisation that ‘they do this’ is wrong, it should be ‘it does this’.)

Using ‘they’ when actually talking about someone, whose identity (pun not intended) is clear from the context, also makes the parsing bits of my brain scream to a halt and need a reboot, much the same as @jhutch2000 also experiences.

I don’t think it will ever stop doing that, either, no matter how common this usage becomes. Obviously a non-gendered singular pronoun also already exists, but ‘it’ is equally obviously never going to be acceptable (quite rightly).

So whilst I don’t think it is quite yet a ‘lost battle’ I guess those of us whose brains are also wired a particular way are going to have to learn to just parse through it.


Bang on, Bangor!


That one was unanimously rejected by trans people (both binary and non-binary) with a “hell no!”, just like it.

Seriously, don’t use either pronoun in relationship to any person.


Yes, I know. That’s basically what I said in the rest of that sentence and that was why it wasn’t a solution.


Just wondered whether Welsh had a non-binary pronoun, appears not, but I know little of the language.


I for one welcome our new Welsh non-binary overpeople!


In this day and age of quantum supremacy, can we use the word qubinary?

Might I propose repurposing some words?


It sounds weird, but it’s no weirder than how language actually evolves.

After 50 years of discussion and many failed suggestions, they is what trans people (including non-binary and agender) decided on.


How about you just use whatever people ask you to use?

This isn’t rocket surgery.


I’m brushing up my German on Duolingo. Took five semesters in college and the pandemic seemed like a good opportunity to pick it back up!

Like in so many other languages, German nouns have gender! Der (male), die (female) or das (neuter). I wonder if there’s a movement in German-speaking places to switch all nouns to das and be done with it? :wink:

I remember when I was in college thinking it was odd for things to have gender and, further, for gendered animals to be all one gender or another. For example, cats are female (die Katze) and dogs are male (der Hund).

I’m getting used to “they.” Studying German again after so many years has made me think that speakers of other languages will have much more to get used to than we English speakers. :wink: