The History of Neopronouns

MatthewsPlace.com
Sep 3 · 3 min read

by Emil Tinkler


eopronouns are most easily described as pronouns that fall outside the range of the typical, he/him/his, she/her/hers, and they/them/theirs. While they have been growing increasingly more and more popular with people creating new pronouns almost everyday, this is nothing new. Some both inside and outside of the queer community are angry at the idea of neopronouns and someone being referred to outside of the “established” he/she/they realm. But as I said before this is nothing new. The use of Neopronouns have existed long before the days of Tumblr and today I would like to share with you some of these pronouns that I have found and how to use them!

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Thon/Thon/Thons/Thons/Thonself —

This set of pronouns as recorded by Merriam-Webster as a conjugation of “That one” which became Thon. The earliest claimed use of this pronoun I could find was 1858 according to Merriam-Webster. Example: I saw Thon at the park today. We talked for a bit. After that I went with Thon to the salon so thons could get a haircut.

E/Em/Eir/Eirs/Emself —

This set of pronouns is often referred to as the Spivak pronouns, which began being used in the 1990’s after Michael Spivak used them in his manual so that no person would have a specified gender.

E/Em/Es/Es/Eself —

This set of neopronouns was created in 1890 by James Rogers but little else is known about this set of pronouns and its early use. Example: E is my best friend and I love es laugh. I gave em a hug today after I saw em at the park.

Co/Co/Cos/Cos/Coself —

These pronouns were created by Mary Orovan in 1970 to be a pronoun option in place of he or she. Some people around this time in the area of Mary were recorded as using these pronouns as well as it has started to become more popular again in recent years. Example: My partner is at work today and co won’t be home until after 5. I can make dinner for us before co gets home. Cos work is nearby so I can be done before co gets home.

Ey/Em/Eir/Eirs/Eirself —

In 1975, Christine Elverson created these pronouns while living in Illinois. The only information I can find as to why Elverson did this was to win a local contest. Example: My professor is nonbinary and ey uses neopronouns! Ey is really nice and eir classroom is colorful! I love that my professor can be eirself in class.

Ae/Aer/Aer/Aers/Aerself —

I looked for a solid like 30 minutes trying to find any conclusive history behind these pronouns before finally finding some information. According to the LGBTA Wikia, they were created in 1920 by a novelist as pronouns for the “third sex” of an alien species. Example: I forgot I was supposed to pick aer up so ae had to walk aerself home from school. I hope ae isn’t too mad at me because I also forgot to return aers library book.

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These were just some of the more popular and more well documented neopronouns I was able to find during my research. If you are interested in finding more about neopronouns especially the ones I talked about above, you can use the links below! I also used all of these while looking into the history and use of neopronouns.

https://lgbta.wikia.org/wiki/Neopronouns
https://nonbinary.miraheze.org/wiki/English_neutral_pronouns
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/third-person-gender-neutral-pronoun-thon


About the Author:

Emil Tinkler is a 21 year old college student living in Central Florida. They are a gay agender person. Emil is a psychology major and a humanities minor. They want to be a therapist one day and help trans kids access medical care, and they love Harry Potter, Bad Suns, and LGBTQ activism. Emil was Vice President of the LGBTQ group on their campus for a year, and will continue to keep activism close to their heart in everything they do.

Matthew’s Place

MatthewsPlace.com

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Written by

MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email sara@matthewshepard.org

Matthew’s Place

MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit for our publication? Email sara@matthewshepard.org

MatthewsPlace.com

Written by

MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email sara@matthewshepard.org

Matthew’s Place

MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit for our publication? Email sara@matthewshepard.org

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