Neil Gaiman is still going to bat for transgender and nonbinary people who use they/them/theirs pronouns. This time, he's swinging at trolls on the internet who tried to rip into teachers who use they/them as a singular pronoun.
You may have heard of the renowned fantasy author, Neil Gaiman, for his novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Good Omens and The Graveyard Book. He's also one of 1,800 writers to sign a letter in support of trans and non-binary people after J.K. Rowling made her transphobic views known.
Most recently, Gaiman gave an English lesson to trolls on Twitter who came for educators.
The tweet attacking the use of singular they/them ironically used they/them as a singular pronoun when they were trying to make their point.
Someone attempted to play "devil's advocate" in the comments:
"Devil’s advocate: The context is different. ‘Their’ in that second sense acts as a stand in because the sex / gender of the subject is unknown."
"It is an abstraction as placeholder."
"When the abstract becomes a concrete individual, a singular noun is appropriate."
But Gaiman wasn't having any of it.
And Gaiman would be correct.
The singular "they" pronoun was first cited in the year 1375 according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
A sentence from the medieval romance William and the Werewolf said:
"‘Each man hurried . . . till they drew near . . . where William and his darling were lying together'."
Just when we thought that would be the end of it, Gaiman continued swinging on trolls for the trans and nonbinary team.
One Twitter commenter tried to say "Any English teacher" was plural, but that is not correct.
People joined in with examples of using the gender neutral pronoun with many English teachers getting their two cents in.
This certainly isn't the first time Gaiman has been clear on his support of the trans community.
He supported Sir Terry Pratchett’s daughter, Rhianna, in denouncing any claims made by "gender critical" people that tried to say Pratchett was anti-trans.
Gaiman tweeted his support out saying:
"Terry understood that people were complicated, contradictory and, always people, and that people can and do change."
"As @rhipratchett says, he would have had no time for this nonsense."
Gaiman also spoke out in support of Netflix's casting of nonbinary and Black actors in their adaptation of his comic series The Sandman when it was announced in June of this year.
There was outrage over nonbinary actor Mason Alexander Park playing the nonbinary role of Desire and The Good Place actor Kirby Howell-Baptiste, a Black woman, playing the role of Death.
Someone tried to claim Gaiman "didn't give a f*ck" about the cast of The Sandman, but he explained that was far from the truth.
"I give all the f*cks about the work."
"I spent 30 years successfully battling bad movies of Sandman."
"I give zero f*cks about people who don't understand/haven't read Sandman whining about a non-binary Desire or that Death isn't White enough."
"Watch the show, make up your minds."
Bravo Mr. Gaiman.
This is the kind of work all allies should be doing.