[tor-project] Proposal for the people page: Pronouns

Taylor Yu catalyst at torproject.org
Mon May 21 20:45:12 UTC 2018

On 05/20/2018 01:53 AM, Nurmi, Juha wrote:

> For example, Uralic languages (with the most native speakers are Hungarian,
> Finnish, and Estonian) lack of grammatical gender.
Do you have different words for mother and father in Finnish? Or does
the language completely lack the concept of gender for people?

> As a native Finnish speaker my language codes my brain not to see
> difference and the whole idea is untranslatable to my native language. As a
> result, I often mix between she/he/hers/his/actor/actress etc. Indeed, I
> have said something like "About my grandmonther, he is..." in English which
> translates completely right to my language!

I have stronger expectations for native English speakers than for
non-native speakers for using someone's correct pronouns. If you are
preemptively explaining why you might make mistakes with people's
pronouns because of how your native language lacks gendered pronouns, I
sympathize. In that case, I suggest that you apologize briefly if/when
you make mistakes and try to do better, rather than explaining beforehand.

If you are instead publicly making excuses for not making an effort to
use people's correct pronouns, I invite you to consider whether that
helps to make Tor a welcoming environment for people of all genders.

I am familiar with languages that lack gendered pronouns. I grew up in a
bilingual household speaking English and Mandarin. My mother still
occasionally uses incorrect pronouns for people of all genders because
English is not her first language and spoken Mandarin, like Finnish,
doesn't have gendered pronouns.

> Most of the Tor user are not speaking English as their first language.

I'm aware that many Tor users and contributors don't speak English as
their first language. I'm not sure how this affects a decision to offer
people the option of displaying their pronouns in a standardized form.

Are you concerned about potential future translations of our people
page? If so, we can talk about that: I think there several potential
solutions there. I think potential difficulties with translation should
not mean denying people the option of displaying their pronouns.

If instead you want to talk about whether we should refer to people
using the pronouns they have asked us to use for them, this mailing list
is really not an appropriate place for that.

Best regards,

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