‘I Use Correct Grammar’: British TV Host Refuses to Use Guest’s Preferred They/Them Pronouns

A British TV host is being simultaneously lauded and lambasted for pushing back on a guest who introduced herself as they/them.

Earlier this week, TalkTV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer clashed with trans activist Shivani Dave over the use of preferred pronouns, with the anchor inquiring if it is now “disrespectful to use factual grammar?”

On Thursday’s show, Megyn was joined by Britt Mayer, founder of Rooted Wings, and Allie Beth Stuckey, host of BlazeTV’s Relatable, to discuss the TalkTV exchange and why it was so refreshing to hear.

[Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Megyn’s position on preferred pronouns here.]

They/Them Controversy

Dave was a guest on Hartley-Brewer’s TalkTV program on Wednesday to discuss the findings of the highly anticipated Cass Review, which offered a damning critique of the National Health Service’s ‘affirming’ treatment of children experiencing “gender-related distress.”

Before the conversion could get going, Dave – who was born female but identifies as a “non-binary trans person” – took issue with the way Hartley-Brewer introduced her. You can watch the entire interview, but Libs of TikTok posted a snippet of the pronoun debate on X.

HARTLEY-BREWER: My next guest, who is Shivani Dave. She is a journalist and a presenter at Virgin Radio – just, just down the corridor. Good afternoon to you, Shivani.

DAVE: Good afternoon, Julia. You know my pronouns are they/them. How are you doing?

HARTLEY-BREWER: Yeah, um, thank you for telling me your pronouns. I use correct grammar, so the only thing I would need to refer you to, to your face would be ‘you.’  But I’m not being rude. You can choose your pronouns. You can choose what you want to call yourself. But you don’t have– you don’t get to require me to use incorrect grammar and factually incorrect things. You’re not a plural. You’re one person, and you’re a female person. So, I will use ‘she’ and ‘her,’ thank you very much.

DAVE: Do what you like, I guess.

HARTLEY-BREWER: Then you didn’t need to tell me that, did you? 

DAVE: Maybe I’m just making sure people know, in case they’re watching and they want to refer to me respectfully.

HARTLEY-BREWER: Is it disrespectful for me to use correct, factual grammar?

DAVE: It’s not incorrect or unfactual grammar to use singular they/them pronouns for an individual, but we’re here to talk about The Cass Review.

HARTLEY-BREWER: Yeah, we are… But you chose to bring it up. 

DAVE: You chose to use the incorrect pronouns for me.

HARTLEY-BREWER: I chose to use the correct pronouns for a single woman who is appearing on my show.

DAVE: I’m not a single woman though. I’m a very special non-binary trans person…

Hartley-Brewer went on to joke that, on the other hand, she herself is “not special” because she is “just a boring, old, heterosexual, married woman.” The exchange, in Megyn’s view, was a breath of fresh air. “God bless her,” she said of  Hartley-Brewer. “You never see that.” 

The Lesson

While Megyn noted that Dave was generally polite in her rebuttal, there is no getting around the fact that she raised the issue in the first place. “If you’re not trying to make me say it, why raise ‘they/them’ when I’ve introduced you as a ‘she’ or as a ‘her,’” Megyn asked. “[Dave] was trying to force it. She was trying to scold her as not appropriate, as potentially bigoted, and Hartley-Brewer was onto her.”

Stuckey agreed that the back and forth was “a lot more polite” than it would have been on a cable news channel in the United States, but she believes Dave was caught off guard. “I think that she actually was a little shocked that the host pushed back on her at all and did so in such an insistent and polite way,” she said.

In Mayer’s view, Hartley-Brewer’s handling of the situation is an example for all. “She is such an example of how we can contend for truth without wavering,” she concluded. “You don’t have to be rude, but she harnessed truth and said, ‘I’m not going to cede language. You are a single female, so that’s how I’ll refer to you.'”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Mayer and Stuckey by tuning in to episode 764 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.