Nats and gender neutral pronouns

26 March,2023 06:26 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Rahul da Cunha

“Care to explain,” I enquired, genuinely concerned.

Illustration/Uday Mohite

Natasha aka Nats, my driven Gen Z neighbour, came over looking quite radical... not

Che Guevera-esque, just in her manner and countenance.

"What*s up Natasha… why so serious?" I asked a trifle cautious.

Natasha resembled the Sandman, Spiderman*s enemy as she swirled around my room.

"I hate being bracketed dude, just hate it… so limiting," she said.

"Care to explain," I enquired, genuinely concerned.

(Deep breath + eye roll).

"So my dad asked my mom ‘how I*m doin*," Nats thundered.

"Sounds reasonable, your dad showing concern, very paternal, very normal," I said.

"He had the audacity to ask mom, ‘how*s SHE doing*?"

"Fair question I*d say, no reason to get uptight," I insisted.

"He asked ‘How*s SHE doing… what*s up with HER? You find nothing wrong with that?" Nats* decibel level was rising.

I looked Nats up and down.

"Uhm I*m still not fully getting your uhm grouse, Natasha. you are a ‘she* and a ‘her* after all, are you not?"

"I*m not a ‘she* or a ‘her*, got it, bruh. I*m not ‘she* or ‘her*?" Nats yelled.

I stopped.

"Natasha… I*m so sorry… if I*m being insensitive, but you*re so feminine, look so beautiful… never knew that you uhm… felt like... uhm... that you were considering a... uhm... are you looking to have an..."

"Dude, Rahul! Get with the programme! I*m not considering any of the ‘things* you are suggesting."

"Okay! But if you*re not a ‘she* or a ‘her*, are you saying you*re a ‘HE*?" I asked, now genuinely confused.

(Double eye roll)

"Dude, Rahul. I*m saying ‘I*m gender fluid*, got it ‘gender fluid*."

"Gender what?" I queried.

"Gender fluid! I can be ‘she*, I can be ‘her*, I can be ‘hers*… I can be ‘he*, I can be ‘him*, I can be ‘his*, I can be ‘them*, I can be ‘they*," Nats rattled off.

I shuddered suddenly. Just the thought of multiple Natashas made me shiver with mortal fear. I imagined, "Rahul bruh!", "Dude Rahul", "Rahul uncle!", multiple eye rolls coming at me from different angles. How can a singular person be a "they"? I wondered.

"Natasha you have me at a loss. Is this some ‘evolution theory* that I missed? How can you be he, she, him, hers, they, them, how can singular people be ‘them* and ‘they*?"

(Triple eye rolls + multi sighs)

"Dude, let me slow down for your benefit…. just try and keep up ya?" Nats paused, then continued.

"I may have been born a female, and you may have been born a guy, physically, anatomically, but that*s so limiting. So uhm… straitjacketed! In our world, the world of Gen Z, you are not defined by masculine or feminine. We don*t abide by societal norms and expectations that classify people within a binary - I*m neither male or female, capeesh?"

"Uhm no, not capeesh. Let me ask you a question, say you have to fill in a form, yes? It asks you your sex. What do you put, male or female."

(Eye roll) "I put He/She/They/Them," Nats said definitively. "I repeat, I believe in gender fluidity."

I was flummoxed. I proceeded hesitantly.

"Uhm... Nats, so are you transgender?

(Mini explosion)

"Hrmmph, dude you*re narrowing the narrative. This isn*t so simple… your generation just wants to fit everything complex into convenient cubby holes... this is about how one feels internally... about self- expression..we need to break free of ‘male* ‘female* stereotypes."

"So uhm... how do you feel just now... male or female… Natasha or uhm… Navin?" I asked.

"Don*t kid around, Rahul bruh, this is serious stuff. Gender identity defines who we are.."

I was getting brain fried.

"Okay, Natasha, I have a meeting to go to, I have to leave."

"I gotta bounce too, bruh… can I hitch a ride?" she asked

"Yes… LGBT?" I said.

"Whaaaa, what do you mean LGBT? Are you making fun of me? Making a mockery of all that I*ve said to you, Rahul bruh?" Nats yelled.

"No no Nats chill… LGBT simply means ‘Lets Go By Taxi,*" I said with a twinkle in my eyes.

Nats finally smiled.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

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