Spanish Adjectives, Genderqueerness, Knives and Zorro
by Joanne von Spanien
In Spanish maybe about half of all adjectives must be inflected for gender. All first person plural (we, us) and third person pronouns (he, she, them, etc.) also must be inflected for gender. If there is a mixed group, the default is to go with the masculine ending.
The feminist idea is often that this is unjust to women because they’re linguistically silenced. Maybe. but what’s its impact on men? If I want to talk about a group of only guys, there’s not really any way to do this unless I specifically say “all of us, who were all guys.” If we’re all gals, I can just say, “All of us,” and we know from the grammatical inflection that we’re all women.
Now, within hispanophone queer and feminist communities, it’s common to just delete the gendered ending, replacing it with an @ or an X. The problem is, neither of these characters are actually pronounceable speech.
Now, I’m a transitioning trans-femme nonbinary person. Almost as importantly, I’m a writer, and though I most often type, I absolutely love the written word in the literal sense. I usually have several pens, liquid ink, of course, with me.
I’ve been having an increasing desire to just switch around these gendered inflections when referring to myself or groups of others, and just slash a big X through the air with needed (@ is a bit too lengthy). Though maybe a short knife, not a pen, would be better? Like genderqueer, gender pirate Zorro?