Kate Tempest is changing her pronouns

THE HOBBLEDEHOY loves Kate Tempest and now we love Kae. Here’s Kae’s latest message from her Facebook:

Hello old fans, new fans and passers by – I’m changing my name! And I’m changing my pronouns. From Kate to Kae. From she/her to they/them. I’ve been struggling to accept myself as I am for a long time. I have tried to be what I thought others wanted me to be so as not to risk rejection. This hiding from myself has led to all kinds of difficulties in my life. And this is a first step towards knowing and respecting myself better. I’ve loved Kate. But I am beginning a process and I hope you’ll come with me. From today – I will be publishing my books and releasing my music as Kae Tempest! It’s pronounced like the letter K. It’s an old English word that means jay bird. Jays are associated with communication, curiosity, adaptation to new situations and COURAGE which is the name of the game at the moment. It can also mean jackdaw which is the bird that symbolises death and rebirth. Ovid said the jackdaw brought the rain. Which I love. It has its roots in the Latin word for rejoice, be glad and take pleasure. And I hope to live more that way each day. Funny because I know this is much more of a big deal to me than it is to anyone else, but because of my role as artist, it is in some ways a public decision as well as being a private one. So, here is my announcement. Sending my love to you all and wishing you courage as you face whatever you must face today. This is a time of great reckoning. Privately, locally, globally. For me, the question is no longer ‘when will this change’ but ‘how far am I willing to go to meet the changes and bring them about in myself.’ I want to live with integrity. And this is a step towards that.
Sending LOVE always

Cheers, Kae!

3 thoughts on “Kate Tempest is changing her pronouns

  1. I confess I was not aware of Kate or Kae Tempest before this post. Too long in the colonies perhaps? Doubtless Kae is worthy of our respect as a serious artist. Why would I question the positive reviews of works I have neither read nor witnessed? (Note to self: check out KT’s work). Kate’s announcement of a name change to Kae is duly noted. The pronoun thing of course presents its own questions. The now common, but nevertheless problematic, use of plural pronouns in reference to a singular person may seem a trifling adjustment required of others when referring to those choosing they/their/them over he/his/him or she/her/her. After all what’s in a word? Plenty I would submit.

    Someone please remind me what Chinese sage it was who advised: “if you wish to be understood clearly, write clearly.” Somewhere along the line of English language history it became necessary for us to distinguish between singularity and plurality as we spoke to one another. Now, with this casual shift from he/she to they, there is no such distinction. Other new personal pronouns have been suggested—zie, zer etc. perhaps in an attempt to avoid this confusion.

    Grammar is not just that boring, tedious scaffolding upon which language is draped. It is a matrix of order and structure that enables written and spoken words to shine through the fog of thought, as they distill into useful sentences. To disrupt this matrix is to introduce confusion. It makes a mockery of our efforts to be clear; to distinguish a sentence from its less focused cousin, the thought. Simply deciding that one (by definition singular) wishes to be referred to as plural is perhaps fine for royalty or the devoutly righteous PC drone. It is however simply confusing for those of us who respect the skill of a clear speaker.

    At first blush it may seem a trifle that someone should announce that henceforth he or she no longer ‘identifies’ as either of these biologically imperative genders. We are all free to identify as whatever we choose. I could, for example choose to ‘identify’ as a mongoose. My parents, siblings and friends may find this odd, but what the hell, no harm done. Am I therefore a mongoose? Unlikely. It would be erroneous, for anyone to actually believe that I have transformed from a human into a diminutive mammal capable of withstanding snake venom.

    Mongooses aside, there is good news for the pronoun-afflicted. When I am addressed directly, no pronouns are required. Pronouns are only used when speaking about someone. Much to my chagrin I have discovered that people don’t talk about me as much as I thought. Suddenly the pronoun issue has become rather small. For this, and other small mercies, let us give thanks.

  2. I did check out Kate Tempest and enjoyed her interview with James O’Brien and the People’s Faces piece. What a warm and gentle performance, managing to maintain the holding up of the emotions above any base politicisation or axe-grinding that would have been so easy to allow. Kate/Kae has an important vision to share with us. Thanks for the link Michael.

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