This is my first post that really highlights the title of my page: Inside the Brain of Revbmat. I have been convinced for YEARS that my brain functions differently than many of my contemporaries. My brain is not better or worse, just different…and at times perhaps a little scary. When I confront new ideas/materials, my brain will not rest until I have processed it fully…and only then will I come to terms with it. This post is part of my “coming to terms” with a new idea, so thanks for supporting my process by reading and coming “Inside” my brain.
Late last night I was reading something on the interwebs and found a brand-new concept. Ok, not completely brand new, but a new usage: the singular they. I regularly use “they” in singular terms when the antecedent of a sentence is unspecified. I stole that sentence from Wikipedia, so now let me say it in “Brian” terms. I regularly use “they” in singular terms when a) speaking hypothetically, b) protecting the identity and gender of a person, or c) simply using an example in a sermon. For instance: Someone called me the other day to share their opinion because they did not get the opportunity at last night’s meeting. Whether this is a hypothetical sentence used as an example, or I’m simply protecting someone’s identity, it’s only one person who called, but I used the plural pronoun “they.” The usage of the “singular they” has been used for hundreds of years, and is widely accepted as the norm.
What was new to me was the usage of the “singular they” in referring to a specific person. An example would be this: This is my new friend Jay. I met they at work. What I learned, and am still processing, is the usage of “they” as a nonbinary pronoun. I’m still processing what nonbinary means, and probably will for some time, so I’ll just use the terminology even though I’m still wrapping my brain around it.
The usage of the “singular they” as a nonbinary pronoun has become preferential to many in the LGBTQ+ community. While I admit to some cognitive dissonance over using the “singular they” in this way, it’s not for any reason other than subject-verb agreement. I am always open to easy changes I can implement to make others feel more welcome around me, especially when the change doesn’t really impact me in a negative way. But getting used to certain changes takes me time. In this case, thankfully I do not have an abundance of people in my life clamoring for “singular they” usage, so I will gladly adapt as needed.
Just to prove I do adapt, there is not a single instance of “double space” after a period in this post. Dr. Sarah Peters, an English Professor who helped edit my book, informed me that the need for “double spacing” went out the door with the typewriter and word processor. She told me this about 9 months ago, and after that much time I have finally come to grips with it and am following her advice. So there, I am capable of change!