Chicago Tribune, Aug. 23, 1975
Ey has a word for it
By Judie Black
AS WOMEN HAVE grown freer, the English language has grown more tangled: What’s a chairperson and who is a Ms.? But help may be on the way in the form of ey, eir, and em.
Those are the winning entries in the Chicago Association of Business Communicators’ contest to find pronouns to replace she and he[ey], him and her[em1, his and hers[eir].
‘ “It,” a neuter pronoun, already exists, but contest winner Christine M. Elverson of Skokie says her words are “transgender pronouns.” She formed them by dropping “the” from the familiar plural pronouns, they, them, and their.
FOR EXAMPLE, a speaker might use these new transgender pronouns when ey addresses an audience of both men and women. Eir sentences would sound smoother since ey wouldn’t clutter them with the old sexist pronouns. And if ey should trip up in the new usage, ey would have only emself to blame.
“There’s a definite need for transgender pronouns,” says Mrs.,Elverson, editor of the employe newsletter of the G. D. Searle Co.
‘ “It gets cumbersome when you don’t know whether you’re talking or writing about a man or a woman.”
A contestant from California entered the word “uh” because “If it isn’t a he or a she, it’s uh, something else.”
So much of eir humor.