|The fuzzhog, © 2016, A.C. Buchanan|
When I talk about the use of gender diverse pronouns (like singular they, sie/hir, e/eir, or many other options) in fiction, I’m usually met with one of two responses. One is excitement and interest, perhaps by non-binary people who see opportunities for people like them to be better represented, perhaps by those who see potential for worldbuilding and exploring different conceptions of gender, or maybe by those who are simply interested in language. The other is more cynical: “I don’t understand them” or “they’re all new and invented language” or “they’re confusing to the reader.”
There’s something circular about these more negative perspectives. If too many people—be they editors or readers—are wary and confused by gender diverse language, then not enough gets written or published, which means people stay wary and unfamiliar. Readers who want to see people like them and their friends represented—or just that there’s a possible alternative to dominant ideas about gender—can’t find the stories they need, perhaps don’t even know what to look for.
As a non-binary person, gender diverse language is essential for describing my reality; as a speculative fiction writer and editor I believe that our explorations of other worlds and possible futures can only be constrained and dampened if we are limited by language tied to assumptions of binary gender. And as the editor of Capricious magazine, I want to do something about that.
Stories using gender diverse pronouns are always welcome in Capricious—we’ve published two in our first year—but I want to specifically showcase and celebrate their usage with a special double issue, available in both print and electronic formats. I’d really appreciate your help to make it happen by supporting our crowd-funding campaign.
You can support the Capricious SF fundraiser, or pre-order your copy, at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/capricious-the-gender-diverse-pronouns-issue-fantasy/