Pronouns and Gender in Moonbase Theta, Out

A quick background note on the character(s) in Moonbase Theta, Out. While putting together the world of the series, I made a decision early on that one of the ways that things would have changed by my fictional 2098 was in the use of personal pronouns. The default is the singular ‘they’, and in fact through the series as written I used that as pretty much universally in referring to all the occupants of the Base and the few additional persons mentioned throughout the story.

The idea in my head was that as language continued to evolve in use, ‘they’ had more firmly taken the place of the old assumption that ‘he’ encompassed all other gender options. They at least eliminates the bias of male being the default, and I felt like that would be a step forward. (If you want to read more about the use of ‘they’ as a singular pronoun, this is a pretty good place to start.)

That said, the assumption that they would be used across the board, not only as the default but as the only option we hear, definitely lacks nuance. I wish I’d spent more time on defining pronoun use, and considered either explaining a bit more, or using a wider range of preferred pronouns when Roger is discussing the rest of the crew, or talking about their husband Alexandre at home. I’ll be giving that more thought if we wind up writing another season, and I appreciate any input that anyone might have.

One of the other shortcomings is in how this affects the listeners’ perception of gender. Nowhere do I give anything that really tags the gender of my characters definitively, and the universal use of they as their pronouns muddies the issue. Again, I wish I’d given this a bit more thought at the planning stages, and I will definitely spend more time considering how these decisions affect the writing – and the listening – moving forward. If you have thoughts or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

For the record, the gender identities of the characters mentioned in Moonbase Theta, Out are listed below. I’m going to limit myself to male / female / nonbinary for the moment, as I honestly didn’t make decisions beyond that (and even that was mostly in my head, not in my written notes).

Roger: Male
Alexandre: Male
Michel: Male
Nessa: Female
Wilder: Female
Ashwini: Nonbinary
Moddy Sarah: Nonbinary

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