We’re glad to know that the world is slowly accepting and recognizing the rights of the LGBTQ community. However, there’s still a long way to go before it finally catches up to the fact that there aren’t just boys and girls. Some nonbinary people don’t conform to anything exclusively male or female.
Right now, a lot of LGBTQ activists are trying hard to call for inclusivity for non-binaries through gender-neutral language. Even linguists show support by calling for more inclusive language, which goes a long way in showing respect to non-binary individuals. After all, they are the most affected by the continuing issues of gender inequality.
Unlike those in the binary, non-binary people get the short end of the stick. Many of them are pretty accustomed to being feminized or masculinized, especially in terms of endearment. Just what do you call them when “queen,” “sweetheart,” or “honey” have always been traditionally female pet names?
Getting misgendered is a common occurrence for most gender non-conforming individuals. It’s enough to make one lament how limiting language can be and if it’s high maintenance to be asking the world to speak in new ways to express kinship to non-binary people. It’s not fun to control how people should call you, but it’s also not fun to get misgendered, right?
As for pet names, they are cute and fun, but they actually mean more than terms of endearment. These cute nicknames express intimacy, something necessary in any relationship. There’s a good reason why people use pet names — they demonstrate a high level of intimacy and create exclusiveness.
Not only that, but pet names are an indicator of how satisfied people are in their relationships. Of course, pet names apply to not only people in romantic relationships. Even non-romantic intimate relationships use the same language, making it all the more reason to look for gender-neutral pet names.
Not everyone falls neatly into the category of male or female. If we are constantly divided into males or females, it can make gender non-confirming individuals perceive that men and women are better than other genders.
This is why gender-neutral language is essential. It will include all genders while dispelling discrimination. At the same time, it inspires change in society, and then maybe, we can finally be on the way to true gender equality. This similarly applies to gender-neutral terms of endearment, helping change the treatment non-binary individuals receive.
Language has a significant impact on people’s attitudes. No matter how carefree language may seem, it can have far-reaching effects on the subconscious, affecting how we perceive the world. Because of this, it is crucial that we first change the way we speak so we can begin treating all genders equally, with the respect they deserve.
How can we create a future that is impartial to all genders? We can start by using gender-neutral pet names. Isn’t it more intimate to call your loved one a word that acknowledges their complex identity? Doing so can, without a doubt, improve the way people think of gender non-conforming people.
If this happens, we’re on the right track to remove gender indications or sexism from words. Unfortunately, many non-binary individuals are having difficulty with terms of endearment because most terms don’t have the same appealing quality as the original.
Still, it is fun to experiment with what pet names to call your BFF or your boo. They’re moments that you can both enjoy, each name getting you closer and closer to each other. Even if the pet names don’t stick, they carry the feeling that this person is trying to understand who you are. If only we could be more fluid with language, we could also be inclusive when it comes to gender.
As for endearment, it’s still a work in progress, but we’re happy to know that gender-neutrality is most evident in occupations. There are already so many changes in what people are called based on their job. Actresses now go simply by the term actor, while waiters and waitresses are now servers and mailmen are mail carriers.
It will take great effort to move on from exclusive male and female thinking toward a binary perspective. However, there is effort seen in how many people recognize a person’s chosen pronoun. We can make this work if we all realize that communication is impossible without accepting that people are not just male or female.