I changed the default English pronoun I use for other people to they some time ago. For a long time I thought it impossible to incorporate a similar approach in my native language, until I realized I’ve been doing it all along.

Polish is a gendered language. Table is male, floor is female, while chair is of a third gender, similar to English it. I’m not sure there is logic behind these assignments, but the fact is it’s very hard to speak Polish without a gender in mind. Every noun, pronoun, verb and adjective have a gender and there is no agreed on way of being gender neutral, without using it that is somewhat dismissive or derogatory (at least when used for adults).

Yet I have been gender fluid in Polish all my life without fully realizing it. My first name, Alicja, I use with female grammar forms. My second name, Karolina, I usually abbreviate to the male Karol, and use it with male forms. It’s seamless for my loved ones, as they use both (though they usually have a preference, with my mom using my first name and my grandparents using Karol exclusively, unless they’re mad at me).

Thinking back, it’s suprising how easy it has been to use both my names without focusing on gender. If anyone had an issue with it, I’d just refer to it as a “personal choice” or a “family tradition”.

I added a correction to this post as it was potentially confusing. I use both she and they pronouns in English for myself. Feel free to refer to me however feels right for you.