The LGBTQ+ community, and particularly the non-cis community, is celebrating a major win these days.
In a truly monumental victory for non-binary people, Merriam-Webster added the singular “they” as a pronoun to their dictionary.
Grammar snobs and transphobes have referred to the famous dictionary and denied the use of “they” as a pronoun, claiming that it’s ungrammatical. Now there’s nothing the naysayers can do to refute its legitimacy, because “they” is a formal part of the system and it’s recognized as a valid pronoun.
Merriam-Webster is the oldest dictionary publisher in the United States, and it’s leading the way forward when it comes to recognizing those who do not fall into the restrictive gender binary upheld by the status quo.
Their move now recognizes a number of ways to identify, rather than as a binary, and, hopefully, more dictionaries will add the singular “they” as a pronoun.
Furthermore, this could mean that the more unconventional pronouns, such as “zie”, “zim”, “ey”, and “em”, will also be added to dictionaries in due time.
This is what Merriam-Webster wrote on their blog:
“We will note that “they” has been in consistent use as a singular pronoun since the late 1300s; that the development of singular “they” mirrors the development of the singular “you” from the plural “you,” yet we don’t complain that singular “you” is ungrammatical; and that regardless of what detractors say, nearly everyone uses the singular “they” in casual conversation and often in formal writing. Moreover, Emily Brewster, a senior editor at the company, stated, “Merriam-Webster does not try to be at the vanguard of change in the language. [However], over the past few decades, there has been so much evidence that this is a fully established use of ‘they’ in the English language. This is not new.”
The LGBTQ+ community has deeply appreciated the move, even though it believes that the use of “they” has been legitimate for years now. However, Merriam-Webster has now strengthened the fight for equality, and that can never be a bad thing.