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Nats and gender neutral pronouns

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

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

Nats and gender neutral pronouns

Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul Da CunhaNatasha 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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