Your Guide to Pronouns

Your Guide to Pronouns

Gender pronouns are words that people use to identify themselves apart from their names. Using people’s preferred gender pronouns is a way to respect them in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity. Assume someone’s pronouns mean that you assume their gender identity based on their gender expression. Huh? What Read your mini guide to gender here. It excludes anyone who doesn’t align with the gender assigned at birth. Further, using gender-neutral pronouns also help

  1. Being misgendered adversely impacts mental health: Being misgendered can be heavily triggering for queer persons and is linked to adverse mental health outcomes. Research shows that being addressed by the right pronouns reduces depression by 71% and suicide risks by 34% among transgender persons. A 2016 study shows that the use of gender-affirming pronouns also helps improve self-esteem
  2. Using inclusive pronouns helps break the binary: Limiting pronouns to he/ she reinforces the gender binary and causes the complete erasure of any identities that don’t align with the binary
  3. The gender binary reinforces patriarchy & gender stereotypes: Limiting pronoun use to he and she made masculine pronouns the norm. Gendered terms for professions, for instance, businessman, policeman, or even mankind, etc reinforce the stereotype that these are roles only men can take up. Leaving out half of humankind

How do I learn about someone’s pronouns?

The best way to ask about someone’s pronouns is to share your own. Make it a habit to share your pronouns when introducing yourself.  Here’s how I go about it I say, ‘Hi I am Shivangi, my pronouns are she /her, how about you? My introduction has a two-fold purpose. First, it cements the fact that I am aware of the need for pronouns and am a queer ally and opens space for the other person to share their pronouns if they would like.

What are gender-neutral pronouns & what they mean

Gender-neutral pronouns are pronouns that don’t specify whether the subject of the sentence is a male or a female. They/them/ theirs/themselves are the most commonly used gender-neutral pronoun. Some other gender-neutral pronouns are Ze/Zie, Hir/Zir, hirs/Zirs, Hirself/Zirself | ve, ver, vis, vers, verself. Some other gender-neutral pronouns include per, ve, e, ne, tey & e/ey.  Some individuals like to be referred to only by their names or as the person.

What does something like she/they mean?

When a person uses, he/they or she/ they pronouns it means that they use both those pronouns and it’s okay to refer to them using either of the two.

What if I make a mistake?

It’s okay to make a mistake, everyone does. Let’s try not to shame ourselves for being imperfect. We are humans, not machines. If you end up using the wrong pronouns just say oh sorry, I meant (insert the right kind of pronouns). If you realize your mistake after the fact, apologize privately and be more mindful in the future.

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