"There are lots of people in the world who simply do not feel a connection towards specific pronouns, and it is our job, as a society, to respect them." -- Avynn Stanley
WHat are pronouns?
In our everyday life, we use pronouns to directly communicate with others. Pronouns/gender pronouns are the pronouns we use to refer to a specific person while also specifying their gender in the process. Pronouns such as She/Her and He/Him are very common in today’s society, though not everyone identifies with them. There are lots of people in the world who simply do not feel a connection towards specific pronouns, and it is our job, as a society, to respect them.
They/Them,She/Her, and He/Him
Aside from pronouns like she/her and he/him, there are other gender neutral pronouns such as they/them. Using these pronouns, people do not have to conform to being seen or identifying with a specific gender. In society, people are often quick to say these pronouns aren´t grammatically correct because you are referring to one person, however they is also a singular pronoun and can be used to refer to one person. Using they/them has been used to refer to just one person since at least the 1300’s (Dictionary.com). As a way to show your genuine respect for someone and their identity, and you are unsure of their pronouns, you can easily use they/them or the persons name when addressing them.
Why Are They Important?
Unfortunately, in our everyday life people make assumptions based off of a person's appearance and/or their name. The act of assuming a person's pronouns, let alone gender identity, can send a harmful message to that person and possibly trigger something negative for them. You can’t always know someones pronouns just by looking at them. When it comes to appearance, a person doesn’t have to look a certain way to identify with the pronouns they associate with. For example, not everyone that identifies with he/him pronouns has to look like a male or be masculine. And the same applies to she/her pronouns. It is important to be aware of how you perceive others and how you choose to approach them, keeping in mind their identity.
Choosing to ignore a person's preferred pronouns can be seen as blatantly disrespecting them. It’s seen as an oppressive act where you are completely disregarding those who are non binary, gender nonconforming, transgender, and/or intersex. When referred to with incorrect pronouns, especially intentionally, people can feel othered, disrespected, invalidated, and dismissed. Asking, and correctly using someones pronouns is a simple way to show respect for their gender identity. In some cases, people prefer to be called by their first name, rather than a specific pronoun.
For more information on pronoun importance, click this link!