Gender fluid in a gendered language
I changed the default English pronoun I use to
they some time ago. For a long time I thought it
impossible to incorporate a similar approach in my native language, until I realized I’ve been doing
it all along.
Polish is a gendered language.
Table is male,
floor is female, while
chair is of a third gender,
similar to English
it. I’m not sure there is logic behind these assignments, but the fact is it’s
very hard to speak Polish without a gender in mind. Every noun, pronoun, verb and adjective have a gender
and there is no agreed on way of being gender neutral, without using
it that is somewhat dismissive or
derogatory (at least when used for adults).
Yet I have been gender fluid in Polish all my life without fully realizing it. My first name,
Alicja, I use
with female grammar forms. My second name,
Karolina, I usually abbreviate to the male
Karol, and use it with
male forms. It’s seamless for my loved ones, as they use both (though they usually have a preference,
with my mom using my first name and my grandparents using
Karol exclusively, unless they’re mad at me).
Thinking back, it’s suprising how easy it has been to use both my names without focusing on gender. If anyone had an issue with it, I’d just refer to it as a “personal choice” or a “family tradition”.