Sweden is known for being a progressive peace loving country, and it can now add one more item in the list of reasons why many people consider this country is considered the most progressive, especially when it comes to gender equality. It has made a gender neutral pronoun official by adding it to the countries official dictionary.
The new pronoun, “hen” is in addition to the feminine “hon” and the masculine “han”. In fact, the pronoun has been embraced informally for decades, since the 1960’s. It really started taking hold in the early 2000’s when the transgender movement embraced the word. Now that it is being added to Svenska Akademiens ordlista as one of the dictionaries 13,000 new words, the gender neutral pronoun is sure to become an even bigger part of speech.
The word, while embraced by the transgender community, Monster says that is not only used to refer to transgender people. In fact it is often use to refer to people who’s gender is unknown or is deemed irrelevant. The adoption of a gender neutral pronoun is important because language both shapes the way people think, and is a reflection of their cultural attitudes and ideas.
For example, the adoption of a gender neutral pronoun can both stop people from focusing on a person’s gender rather than their ideas and accomplishment, and is a reflection that a group of people are working towards that ideal.