I am training myself to use genderfree language, and specifically, gender-neutral pronouns. Disbelieving in gender is an important part of my worldview and I want it to be reflected in my language. I think that the purpose of gendered pronouns is to remind the hearer of someone's sex, which I believe to be something that should be considered unimportant in general conversation. I see it as a part of the structure that allows sexism to continue. (every now and then it makes things a little clearer when you are talking about a male and a female but I don't think that is enough of a reason and I tend to use names to specify anyway) I think that it is important to remove unnecessary distinctions related to sex, as a way of removing stereotypes. I also do my best to refrain from using such gendered terms as 'girly' 'manly' 'feminine' or 'masculine' except as relates to actual body parts, because I think that things which are referred to in such ways are stereotypes. For instance, I do not think it is 'girly' to shop, or 'manly' to move heavy objects. I would prefer if you used genderfree pronouns in reference to me but I will be fine if you don't -- I know it is hard to remember. So for future reference, here in my LJ:
zir = her, his
ze = he, she
zirself = herself, himself
This is not a request for you to do the same (though that would thrill me), so if you don't like the idea, simply ignore this post. If it is going to intensely bother you to read, feel free to unfriend. mourningdoveava is my buddy in this journey, and ze will hopefully remind me if I slip up. ;-)
ETA: This is really just for me -- not to ignore physical differences, but to remind myself of their unimportance. I'm becoming the change I wish to see in the world. I'm not attempting to change anyone else's mind.
ETA #2: I am fully and completely comfortable with my sex -- I'm a girl, and I like it. I am a 'she.' But I see no reason to have my sex referred to in casual conversation. For me, being a girl is about having female body parts and that is it. And I don't wish to have my body parts referred to whenever someone speaks of me.
These gender-neutral terms are not an 'other,' they are inclusive. They're not for people who are other than male or female, they are for all people -- male, female, intersexed, transsexual. It is not meant to ignore or take away a person's sex; it is meant to speak of the person within the body. So if I call you 'ze' I am referring to the person that you are, without happening to mention your sex.