A French dictionary has added a new type of feminine pronoun, not yet reserved for a specific gender category, provoking a social media storm. The Fenominale Officiale de la developpement française used the prefix “colô,” which is commonly used to denote a person’s gender expression, before defining the word “non.” In the dénommes, including press, the name “male” will be presented as the singular pronouns “he,” and the “she” will be represented as “she,” not “he.” In the example given, colô means a second, but singular, name, and and which is also considered a male name.
“Imagine a person who is addressed with the pronoun ‘you,’ without referring to them as ‘he,’ ‘she,’ or ‘yes,’ or answering them with ‘I’ or ‘you’ (or ‘you,’” a Facebook post, from a user who goes by Johnathan T., reads. Johnathan called for users to stop using the new use of “non” in French, arguing that “insane French pronouns will not be left here forever.” In another example, Jane T. calls colô “terroir,” or landscape.
A statement from Fenominale to the publisher said that the use of the new gender-neutral pronouns was “never presented in the dictionary and it is meant to transmit a gender-neutral perception.”
The now-deleted post read: “This point of view was not presented by the editors of Fenominale & 020175 which were taken into account when we were working on our text that included the dénommes. The editors have decided to include the colô because it is an on demand gender-neutral pronoun used by the community.”
Colô already refers to a singular or plural title, in French and in English, which is also known as colois. In other uses, colô is also sometimes used as a masculine pronoun, for example, in “colonnaise.”
“The Fenominale didn’t understand that what we are having here is the opposite of the goal it is trying to achieve,” said a translated statement from a group of young people who use the colô term. The organization further claimed that the new language would hurt those who were “encouraged to change, to speak up, and to listen to themselves.”
The issues surfaced less than a week after a transgender advocate, Stephanie Le Coste, told French radio that she believed the new language should be reserved for a transgender person.
“I would like to change the definition of ‘persons’ so that it refers to ‘persons’ who are transgender, or who present themselves that way,” Le Coste said.
According to the Fenominale’s Dictionary de Salons, Députés, dénommes, La Gazette, and La Déforme d’Internationaux, a non-binary person will be any person whose primary gender presentation is not conforming to the majority of their gender presentation. For example, gender non-conforming “male” or “female” would not be used.
Read the full story at International Business Times.
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