My most favorite cousin is having a sex change, from woman to man. (I'm sorry if you're another cousin reading this blog! Keep in mind, though, that these things are transitory. Pun intended.) I'm going to momentarily ignore most of the issues surrounding this. When all is said and done, the one thing that irritates me is this: our language is not set up for this kind of thing.
When I talk about him (her?) in the past, which pronoun do I use? It makes sense to say "she" but doesn't feel quite right. I've temporarily resolved to say "they" but then, as someone who is licensed to teach English grammar, I just don't feel completely right about that. Technically, it's never correct to use "they" in the singular.
In another sense, this grammatical problem illustrates the ambiguity, the uncertainty, the good will yet strange feelings of the whole situation. Life is clearly about the journey. Meanings are not always clear. We muddle through and try to find the best answers we can. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light. I wish I was more certain about sex change grammar and pretty much everything else in life, but I have no answers, only more questions.
On a slightly related note, kudos to George Takei, who is even cooler than I previously thought he was.