It/Its pronouns are no less valid than any other pronoun set

Credit u/HardlightCereal on Reddit

While the use of the it/its pronoun is mostly used for inanimate objects, animals, and concepts where we’re not quite sure of what to use (e.g. “It’s raining outside” or “What do you want to do about it?”) there is also a usage that is less common but still just as valid and that is the use of it/its as a personal pronoun.

Like with every other pronoun, it is not our decision whether or not it is valid for use. It is up to the person asking us to use those pronouns. Saying, “I’m not going to use those pronouns because I don’t like them.” is no different than someone refusing to use your pronouns because they don’t agree that you should be using them. I want you to take a moment and ask yourself how you feel when people use the wrong pronouns on you, especially after you’ve told them what pronouns to use for you. Do you like it when that happens? Then why is it ok for you to decide to cause those feelings and emotions on another person just because you personally don’t agree with or want to use those pronouns?

The fact that we use the it/its pronouns on a near daily basis and in many cases even on people (usually babies, where it is often used for idiomatic phrases such as “Is it a boy or a girl?”) shows that they’re not new and that these pronouns are just as common as any other.

The issue then lies in the stigma of the word being used. We all know what happens if we refer to a person as it in general conversation, things tend to go downhill fast. But there’s a difference between using it/its without a person’s consent and a person saying, “My pronouns are it/its, please use these when talking about me.”

There is a work around for this though that deals with the social stigma as well as respecting the person’s wishes and needs that is often recommended for use in LGBTQIA+ circles in my area.

If the person says, “please use it/its pronouns for me” then use them like you would anyone with that person, but if you’re talking about that person, then use their name and avoid the it/its because of the societal connotations and stigma against those pronouns. Even if you know those are the pronouns that person wants to have you use, because of the stigma it’s just too dangerous to use them when that person isn’t there and able to go, “No, those are my pronouns.”

We need to take the time to remember that it is not up to us to decide whose pronouns are valid and who we can go, “Yeah, I’m not going to use those, they make me feel icky.” If those pronouns make you feel too icky to use then use the person’s name instead of invalidating that person’s identity by using pronouns you know are incorrect. We need to have empathy for others and to acknowledge that yes, some things will make us feel uncomfortable due to social stigma, but that does not give us permission to invalidate people’s identities or to refuse to use a person’s proper pronouns.

And for people who wish to claim that it/its is not valid on grammatical grounds, I would like to remind y’all that they/them technically isn’t valid either due to the fact that the people who decided what was and wasn’t proper English grammar tried to use the rules for Latin to declare what was/wasn’t proper English. And in a few cases the grammar rules we see today weren’t even meant to be rules at all, but were to help a person’s child learn Latin through English as was seen with Bishop Robert Lowth and his textbooks on English grammar.

For people interested in the grammar side of this discussion, I highly recommend the book “What’s your pronoun? Beyond he & she” by Dennis Baron (ISBN-13: 978–1631496042 ISBN-10: 1631496042 ASIN: B07TK4B88R)

I have covered neopronouns previously if you are interested in how they’re not actually “new.”

For how to use it/its/itself properly in conversation:

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