Hollywood actor and Trump supporter James Woods tweeted a transphobic remark and Twitter came for him earlier this week (11 February).
Woods tweeted how a person cannot use the pronoun ‘they’ as it is ‘plural of either males or females, or both.
‘Please join me in using proper grammar, syntax, and spelling.
‘Don’t be bullied by hare-brained liberals.’
‘Language changes constantly’
Hundreds of Twitter users piled on Woods. On commented: ‘Language changes constantly.’
Another user said: ‘Wild how transphobia turns everyone into a grammar pedant’.
But the ultimate dunk on Woods’ logic came from Dictionary.com.
It tweeted: ‘They has been in use as a singular pronoun since the 1300s.
‘Among its best known users in history: Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen. ‘
‘Dictionary shade is the best shade’
And Twitter could not get enough of it.
‘The impact this one tweet can have on literally tens of thousands of people is astounding.
‘You always stick up for the LGBTQ+ community and do your part even though no one even expects it of you.
‘THANK YOU SO MUCH.’
‘Dictionary shade is the best shade,’ another said.
A brief history of they
In Old English, usage of ‘they’ dipped in 1745.
This followed hundreds of years of its usage in the singular.
Calls for a gender neutral pronoun began again in 1794 after a series of ‘battle of the sexes‘ articles appeared.
There is also evidence of ‘thon‘ (contract of that one) being proposed as a gender neutral pronoun.