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What pronoun should a hermaphrodite species use?
In my fantasy novel, I have a species that is fully hermaphroditic: all individuals have both male and female reproductive organs. Like garden snails. Consequently, they have only one gender.
They explicitly state that they don't mind when confused humans refer to them as he/she/it/they. Humans consider "it" to be impolite, but that's a human thing. However, what pronoun should members of this species use when talking about each other (to a human)?
"He was my mate"
"She was my mate"
"It was my mate"
"They were my mate"
All four don't sound quite right, do they? I should perhaps add that I don't want this species to sound awkward. They're supposed to be, in some ways, higher being than humans.
Several notes pop into my head when considering this. First is representation. Beware your race isn't token-ified by the troublesome humans of our world. "They don't mind being called 'it'. They see 'it' as just another pronoun. So why you are making such a big deal out o
Several notes pop into my head when considering this. First is representation. Beware your race isn't token-ified by the troublesome humans of our world. "They don't mind being called 'it'. They see 'it' as just another pronoun. So why you are making such a big deal out of it?" My advice, consult actual hermaphrodites and ask them if they are okay with it (off the top of my head, asking on Quora would be a decent (not good, but decent) place to pose that particular question.
Next. Why is it this race doesn't have it's own language? Even if you only hint at it by means of using certain words? (borrowing from your own comment) "Kelly was of the eldest and wisest among us. Illa (their language's gender neutral pronoun) was my mate. Illa supported me."
You might also want to consider things like:
How does this race view hierarchy?
Is everyone equal?
Since there's no gender differences, how do they organize? (hierarchy question, expanded).
Is 'elder=wiser' a thing for them?
The li2018-03-21 04:14:57