TV host refuses to use guest’s correct pronouns: ‘I use correct grammar’

TalkTV host Julia Hartley-Brewer (left) and non-binary journalist Shivani Dave (right)

Non-binary journalist Shivani Dave has emphasised the importance of using people’s correct pronouns after a TalkTV presenter repeatedly refused to use theirs live on air. 

Dave, who uses they/them pronouns, appeared on TalkTV to speak about the Cass report with TalkTV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer last week.

The report – an independent review into the provision of healthcare for trans youth in England – was published on 10 April after a four-year wait and partly urges clinicians to use “extreme caution” when prescribing puberty blockers to trans youth. 

While introducing Dave, Hartley-Brewer misgendered them as she said: “My next guest is Shivani Dave. She’s a journalist and presenter at Virgin Radio.” 

Dave responded by saying: “Good afternoon, Julia. You know my pronouns are they/them.” 

Hartley-Brewer went on to say: “Thank you for telling me your pronouns. I use correct grammar.”

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Hartley-Brewer went on to say: “You can choose your pronouns, choose what you want to call yourself, but you don’t get to require me to use incorrect grammar. 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 responded “do what you like”, before pointing out that they wanted to clarify their pronouns, should other people want to refer to them “respectfully”.

They reiterated that using ‘they’ to describe a singular person isn’t grammatically incorrect, as Hartley-Brewer claimed.

Hartley-Brewer again called Dave a “single woman”, to which they hit back clarifying that they are a “very special” non-binary trans person – a reference to a prior statement Hartley-Brewer made about people with different labels liking to be “special”.

Hartley-Brewer responded: “OK, I’m not special. I’m just a boring, old, heterosexual, married woman. But you know, sorry about that. We’re not allowed to do that any more.” 

Speaking to PinkNews about the incident, Dave said that “deliberately and repeatedly” using someone’s incorrect pronouns was “disrespectful”.

Shivani Dave protested the British LGBT Awards 2023
Trans journalist Shivani Dave. (Supplied)

“It’s important to use someone’s correct pronouns because it is such a small and simple way to show basic respect for one another”, they said.

“All major professional American psychological and psychiatric associations recognise that inclusive language usage for LGBTQ+ people drastically decreases experiences of depression, social anxiety, suicidal ideation and other negative mental-health factors.”

In 2023, Hartley-Brewer found herself at the centre of widespread controversy after she made comment on X, formerly known as Twitter, referring to the Taliban in reference to trans rights.

Her comment came after an LGBTQ+ journalist claimed he had been compared to the Taliban – which he described as “a group that beheads and murders women and gay people” – for his support of the trans community.

Reposting it, Hartley-Brewer, who has written columns for The Daily Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday, commented: “At least the Taliban know what a woman is.”

Dave previously told PinkNews that coming out is a never-ending process.

PinkNews has contacted TalkTV for comment.