(Originally posted to Tumblr here)


a demonym for an individual person in a plural system

I’m a pluran who blogs about my life inworld.
A median pluran might count the many parts of their collective as one person.
He and his husband are plurans in the same system
She and her girlfriend are plurans in different systems.
Pluranhood is complicated and different for everyone.

I got really tired of referring to myself and others as “a headmate.” Defining oneself with a strictly relational term is weird and fails to recognize the individuality of people in systems (which is too wordy to be a demonym.) It’s like “roommate’s rights” versus “tenant’s rights.” So I started a conversation in a Discord community I’m in to talk about potential demonyms for individuals in systems, found others also had difficulty especially with using “a headmate” as a demonym, and “pluran” was what got spat out. So I started using it.

I also decided on this over “a plural” as a demonym because plurality is a state of being. Its like calling myself “a transgender” when I’m trying to describe having a trans experience, or like calling myself “a band” when I’m only one member. It doesn’t make clear sense or define an individual well.

The biggest point of pluran as a demonym is that it allows us to talk about our SELVES in relation to the plural experience, not our headmates, not our hosts, not our whole systems, but ourselves as individuals.

Which is why this word also carries explicit connotations of personhood. So often, non-host plurans especially are literally* denied our right to be seen or even think of ourselves as real and individual people. And wholly individual or not (as there are systems that function as parts-of-a-whole), we’re never seen by outsiders – and sometimes not even by our headmates – as equal to “real” people. This is a word that won’t allow for any vagueness in referring to someone who is a real person who deserves to be treated like any other, regardless of their relationships to others in or outside their system.

*search “people” at the link and read about how part of the professional guidelines for treating multiples is never to allow us to think of ourselves as real and separate people instead of one dissociated person.