unprovoked assault

Joyce Carol Oates sees JK Rowling’s transphobia and raises her an attack on nonbinary people

Move over JK Rowling! There’s a new wealthy, straight, white, cisgender writer launching an unprovoked assault on LGBTQ people. This time it’s none other than Joyce Carol Oates.

The 83-year-old is currently blocking people left and right on Twitter after she made inflammatory remarks attacking nonbinary people for absolutely no reason, saying “they/them” pronouns are confusing and language is supposed to be about seeking clarity and blah, blah, blah.

Yesterday, Oates tweeted: “”they” will not become a part of general usage, not for political reasons but because there would be no pronoun to distinguish between a singular subject (“they”) & a plural subject (“they”). language seeks to communicate w/ clarity, not to obfuscate; that is its purpose.

For the record: Oates is wrong here, both about the rules of the English language and in her sentiment about “they/them” pronouns. For a professional writer who also claims to be a liberal, she really should know better.

A backlash almost immediately ensued, and pretty soon, Oates found herself trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.

Here are just a few of the responses…

Oates later tried to walk back the tweet several times, claiming she’s happy to use “they/them” pronouns when talking to non-binary people, and she was just trying to spark an “academic” discussion, and language evolves, and maybe this is all just generational, and blah, blah, blah.

Now, she could’ve left it at that and the whole thing probably would’ve blown over by this time tomorrow. But for whatever reason, she then decided to retweet someone defending her initial tweet, calling “they/them” pronouns “impracticable” and implying that nonbinary people are just seeking attention.

Now, people are pissed again. Here’s what they’re saying…

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.