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Swedish Pronoun: Hen

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Swedish Pronoun: Hen


Identifying as non-binary can be difficult, but Sweden has an official gender-neutral pronoun: hen. It’s  similar to the use of singular “they” in English. It took inspiration from the neutral pronoun in the Finnish language (hän) and after much debate “hen” was officially adopted.

Its use is:
– for talking about someone who’s gender is unknown
– when the gender is unnecessary in the conversation
– for talking about someone who identifies as neither male nor female

It’s been used in various places in Sweden, some say since the 1960s, but was discussed in mainstream media in 2013 and eventually placed into the official Swedish dictionary in 2015.

It has two main uses in Sweden. The first is, obviously, for LGBT+ groups but the second is interesting. Some schools and pre-schools have started using “hen” for their pupils so as not to push gender roles or identities on their students.

First studies suggest that the use of “hen” in early education doesn’t reduce children’s tendency to use gender to categorize people, but it reduces their tendency to gender-stereotype and gender-segregate.

The use of hen is the same and just as simple as han (he) or hon (she), for example, “hen är vacker” – “they are beautiful”.

##### Found this little article and thought it worth sharing. Enjoy.

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Thanks for that, Addym. I like ‘hen’ because I‘d like English to have gender-neutral pronouns in addition to the many gender-specific pronouns which we have already. We have ‘they’ but that's a plural pronoun and whenever I'd try to use it as a singular pronoun (since there's nothing else lying around that can be used) I'd get shot down by my teachers in middle and high school and my instructors in college.

Colin  :icon_geek: 

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