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Time journal is ridiculed for utilizing ‘e/em/eir’ pronouns in piece on ‘Gender Queer’ writer

TIME magazine has been criticized for using what many saw as a ludicrous set of pronouns to describe a ‘Gender Queer’ author in an article published this week.

The article referred to author Maia Kobabe, 33, who wrote the book ‘Gender Queer: A Memoir’, by using the ‘e/em/eir’ pronouns.

The use of the ‘e/em/eir’ pronouns sparked a massive backlash on Twitter, with professors, journalists and comedians all slamming the magazine for promoting ‘unintelligible’ words.

The article focused on the controversy surrounding Kobabe’s book, which describes and illustrates sexual acts, and came a day after a judge in Virginia dismissed a lawsuit that had sought to declare ‘Gender Queer’ as obscene for children and to restrict its distribution to minors.

‘In the 2019 illustrated graphic memoir, Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, explores eir process of coming out as nonbinary and asexual,’ the TIME journalist wrote.

The TIME magazine Twitter account also promoted the article and tweeted: ‘TIME spoke to ‘Gender Queer’ author and illustrator Maia Kobabe on about eir work, the efforts to restrict access to eir writing, and what ey make of the current cultural moment.’

Social media users – from the co-founder of Wikipedia to journalists and authors – slammed TIME magazine and accused the publication of using ‘made-up’ pronouns to suit the ‘whims of a narcissist’.

Douglas Murray, the author of ‘The War on the West’, tweeted: ‘Nobody has time for this. Nobody.’

TIME magazine has been criticized for using what many saw as a ludicrous set of pronouns to describe a ‘Gender Queer’ author in an article published this week

The article referred to author Maia Kobabe, who wrote the book 'Gender Queer: A Memoir', by using the 'e/em/eir' pronouns The article referred to author Maia Kobabe, who wrote the book 'Gender Queer: A Memoir', by using the 'e/em/eir' pronouns

The article referred to author Maia Kobabe (left), who wrote the book ‘Gender Queer: A Memoir’, by using the ‘e/em/eir’ pronouns

The use of the 'e/em/eir' pronouns sparked a massive backlash on Twitter, with professors, journalists and comedians all slamming the magazine for promoting 'unintelligible' words

The use of the ‘e/em/eir’ pronouns sparked a massive backlash on Twitter, with professors, journalists and comedians all slamming the magazine for promoting ‘unintelligible’ words

The e/em/eir pronouns

Kobabe has used ‘e/em/eir’, known as Spivak pronouns, since 2016. The Spivak pronouns are a set of gender-neutral pronouns promoted by a virtual community LambdaMOO.

The Spivak pronouns are based on the pronouns used by American mathematician Michael Spivak.

These pronouns were formed by dropping the ‘th’ from they, them and their.

Kobabe, who was raised as a girl, began using the pronouns ‘e/em/eir’ pronouns when the author came out as nonbinary in 2016.

Larry Sanger, the Internet project developer who co-founded Wikipedia, tweeted: ‘Noteworthy that TIME is using the made-up abominable pronoun ‘eir’ because the person it describes says so.’

Journalist Stephen Miller, the contributing editor at The Spectator, tweeted: ‘Ok the pronoun thing has got to be a troll at this point right?’

He joked: ‘”Thank you for interviewing me Time Magazine and before we get started I’d like to tell you that my pronouns are timeeats***/ timeeatmores*** / timef***off”.’

‘Just reading this sentence makes Americans more stupid,’ conservative writer Kimberly Morin wrote.

Author Frank Fleming tweeted: ‘I mean, people are free to use whatever crazy pronouns they want for themselves, but the idea that everyone else is supposed to keep a pronouns spreadsheet based on the whims of every narcissistic weirdo seems unsustainable.’

Gad Saad, a Lebanese-born Canadian Professor of Marketing at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Quebec, tweeted: ‘This eir utter bulls***.’

Meanwhile, writer and comedian Andrew Doyle tweeted: ‘Spare a thought for English teachers in a world of narcissists…’

El American editor-at-large Ben Kew wrote, ‘People may laugh, but I actually find it pretty sad to see a publication as iconic as TIME Magazine reduced to this.’

Washington Examiner columnist Becket Adams tweeted: ‘Did a cockney chimney sweep write this tweet?’

DailyMail.com has contacted TIME magazine for comment.

Social media users - from the co-founder of Wikipedia to journalists and authors - slammed TIME magazine and accused the publication of using 'made-up' pronouns to suit the 'whims of a narcissist'

Social media users – from the co-founder of Wikipedia to journalists and authors – slammed TIME magazine and accused the publication of using ‘made-up’ pronouns to suit the ‘whims of a narcissist’

Kobabe, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, has used ‘e/em/eir’, known as Spivak pronouns, since 2016. The Spivak pronouns are a set of gender-neutral pronouns promoted by a virtual community LambdaMOO.

The Spivak pronouns are based on the pronouns used by American mathematician Michael Spivak.

These pronouns were formed by dropping the ‘th’ from they, them and their.

Kobabe came out as bisexual in high school – and in 2016, the author came out as nonbinary. Kobabe said that this was the point the author decided on using the e/em/eir pronouns.

Kobabe’s book has been criticized by parents as it describes and illustrates sexual acts including oral sex and masturbation.

Tommy Altman, a Virginia Beach tattoo shop owner and former Republican congressional candidate, filed a petition to a Virginia court about ‘Gender Queer’ and ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ by Sarah J. Maas, saying the depictions were inappropriate for children.

Altman asked the court to issue an order under state law against distributing, selling or loaning the books to minors. The suit was filed in April but was dismissed by a judge on Tuesday before it could proceed to trial.

Circuit Court Judge Pamela S. Baskervill struck it down on jurisdictional grounds, citing state law as well as the US Constitution.

For example, Baskervill wrote that Virginia law doesn’t give her the specific authority to determine whether the books are obscene for minors.

The judge also wrote that restricting the books’ distribution would authorize ‘prior restraint’ of speech and violate the First Amendment. The judge also described concerns about prosecuting someone who didn’t know they were selling or loaning books that were deemed to be obscene.

Kobabe's book has been criticized by parents as it describes and illustrates sexual acts including oral sex and masturbation

Kobabe’s book has been criticized by parents as it describes and illustrates sexual acts including oral sex and masturbation

The judge’s order comes at a time when book challenges and bans have surged across the US to levels not seen in decades. Virginia has been on the frontlines, with public school curricula and books serving as a major prong for Republican Glenn Youngkin’s successful run for governor last year.

Author and publisher groups hailed the judge’s decision.

Maria A. Pallante, president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, said Tuesday that it was an ‘unequivocal victory for the free speech rights of readers, authors, publishers, booksellers and libraries.’

Many of the targeted books have focused on sexuality, gender identity or race. Kobabe’s ‘Gender Queer,’ a graphic novel that contains explicit illustrations of oral sex and masturbation, has served as a particular flashpoint.

The Virginia Beach school board removed the book from school libraries earlier this year, The Virginian-Pilot reported. Schools in Fairfax County, in northern Virginia, also briefly removed it last year before it was reinstated. Loudoun County Public Schools chose to pull the book.

In his petition against the fantasy book ‘Court of Mist and Fury,’ Altman said it ‘contains pages of extreme sexual conduct not suitable for children as young as 10 years old.’

In his petition against ‘Gender Queer,’ Altman cited content that illustrates ‘two minors engaged in sexual intercourse,’ among other actions.

Jeff Trexler, an attorney for the author of ‘Gender Queer,’ pointed out that Altman was running for Congress when he filed the suit. Altman lost in a crowded Republican primary.

‘This isn’t 200 pages of people from various gender identities, having sex and nothing else,’ Trexler said. ‘It’s an award-winning work as a literary memoir and as a graphic novel. It’s been relevant to lots of people in terms of understanding themselves and their children’

Tim Anderson, Altman’s attorney, said the lawsuit ‘was never never about trying to ban gay literature or trans literature.’

‘This was simply just saying these (books) have really sexual explicit content and it´s not appropriate for kids,’ Anderson said.

Anderson said the suit’s intent was changing a state law that determines what is obscene for both children and adults alike. Altman wanted a ‘carve out’ that deems what’s obscene for juveniles specifically.

Anderson, who is also a state lawmaker, said Altman is considering his options following the judge’s order. He said one way forward could be a ratings system for books like there are for video games and movies.

‘Fundamentally, what we’re trying to do is get to a point where parents are more in the driver’s seat of what their children are consuming,’ Anderson said.

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