In a close-knit group of friends where language is central to their bonding, the decision by one to identify as non-binary thrusts them all into a linguistic whirlwind. As the newly identified friend pushes for a drastic change in their Spanish vocabulary, the Original Poster (OP) finds himself caught between upholding traditional language and maintaining group harmony.
A New Identity Emerges
One member of OP’s group of friends, primarily composed of gay guys, comes out as non-binary. This prompts the need for a shift in language, which OP is more than willing to accommodate when addressing this friend. Introducing the ‘e’ suffix becomes the new norm for this friend.
Pushing the Boundaries
The friend doesn’t stop at pronouns. They now want to impose an inclusive language that alters the structure of Spanish nouns, challenging the long-standing gendered nature of the language. This includes using “ele” for words without a specified gender.
Rethinking the Language
Since “coming out,” the non-binary friend is trying to force their group of friends to use inclusive language for everything. In Spanish, most nouns are gendered and don’t have a “neutral” article- a chair is feminine, a shoe is masculine, a cat is masculine or feminine, etc.
Even basic greetings like “Hola chicos” or “Hola amigos” become sources of conflict. In group chats and in-person conversations, any use of standard Spanish-gendered terms gets immediately flagged by the non-binary friend. The language changes lead to strained interactions.
The friend’s messages and speech start to feel alien to OP. As they push for this modified Spanish, conversations become increasingly arduous. There’s a palpable tension in every exchange.
Sides are Taken
The group becomes polarized. Some friends side with OP, agreeing that the altered language feels unnatural and cumbersome. Meanwhile, others argue in favor of accommodating the non-binary friend’s preferences.
Attempts are made to find a middle ground where everyone feels comfortable. Suggestions are proposed to selectively use inclusive language without completely overhauling all of Spanish. It’s a delicate balancing act.
Identity vs. Tradition
The core of the issue becomes apparent. This isn’t just about language; it’s about identity and preserving cultural norms. For the non-binary friend, it’s a fight for recognition, while for OP, it’s about respecting the language’s traditions.
A particularly fierce argument ensues in a group chat. Accusations fly, with words like “insensitive” and “overbearing” thrown around. Friendships are tested. After the fallout, there’s a period of silence, with some group chat members becoming noticeably less active.
One of the friends, known for his calm demeanor, steps in to mediate, organizing a face-to-face meet-up for the group. During the meet-up, the non-binary friend and OP talk candidly about their feelings. Both express their frustrations and concerns.
A Proposal Arises
Another friend, known for his creativity, proposes a potential solution. What if the group created their own unique lexicon? A blend of traditional Spanish and inclusive terms, ensuring everyone feels acknowledged. The group decides to try out this new linguistic approach.
As group members interact with others outside their circle using the new lexicon, they encounter confused looks and questions. It becomes evident that this solution might work. After a while, the group reconvenes to discuss the effectiveness of their new language approach.
Acceptance and Flexibility
Over time, they acknowledge the language system’s limitations and the need for adaptability depending on the situation. While it’s essential to respect and acknowledge everyone’s identity, there also needs to be a level of linguistic pragmatism. The group agrees to be flexible based on context.
Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts his story online for feedback and validation. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “This is insane. You are being respectful by using their preferred personal pronouns, and that’s the definition of inclusive language. Rewriting an entire language is not required.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “It’s reasonable for them to request certain pronouns about themselves. It is unreasonable for them to expect you to neutralize an entire language.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Imagine being so narcissistic that you demand a whole language should change to make yourself feel better.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “I’m from a Spanish-speaking country and never heard of such extremes for inclusive language. The gender of common nouns has nothing to do with the concept of gender for people.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.