Non-binary? Woke? French leaders won’t have you writing off ...

Lifestyle

Non-binary? Woke? French leaders won’t have you writing off their values

The inclusion of the ‘iel’ pronoun in a respected French dictionary has raised the ire of the country’s government

Geert De Clercq

French dictionary Le Robert has added the “iel” pronoun for non-binary people to its online edition, sparking heated debate in a country where grammar is sacrosanct.

Le Robert, one of France’s leading dictionaries, said on Wednesday that a few weeks ago it added the “iel” pronoun to its list of words after its researchers noticed growing usage of it in recent months.

In English, the gender-neutral “they” has been in use for some years by people who do not identify as male or female. Many public figures, including US vice-president Kamala Harris, specify “she/her” or “he/his” as their preferred pronoun in Twitter profiles, email signoffs or CVs to show solidarity with non-binary people...

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