Recently, almost every Instagram and Twitter bio one comes across mentions the account holder’s preferred pronouns, be it “she/her”, “they/them” or even “ze”. While one may think it’s not a big deal or that it’s simply stating the obvious, it is far from that. Acknowledging and announcing your personal pronouns is actually all about respect, inclusion and acceptance. The logic behind this is that when we see a person who looks like a man or woman, we assume they would use him and her respectively. However, this assumption is not always correct and can lead to discomfort and even annoyance. To prevent unintentional insensitivity and a lot of awkwardness, we’ve decided to tell you all about the usage of personal pronouns, from A-to-Ze.
Apart from a people’s name, pronouns are one of the main ways that we identify them, so we need to get it right. Pronouns are part of the larger spectrum of gender expression. People don’t always identify the gender synonymous to their biological sex. Someone who is born a biological female, may identify as a male, female or even none. They could be gender fluid or reject the notion of gender completely. To avoid inaccurate assumptions of their gender identity, they declare their pronouns for everyone to use. It makes them feel seen and safe. Using pronouns supports the larger picture of acceptance and inclusivity as well.
To normalise it! While cisgender people identify their gender with their biological sex, it may seem irrelevant to declare their pronouns, but they should. When we declare our pronouns we are doing our bit to make society progressive, inclusive and lessening gender-discrimination. Many people genuinely struggle with their gender identity and their pronouns are often misunderstood and ignored. Hence, when cisgender folks declare their pronouns, it shows solidarity and acceptance with the trans and non-binary communities.
There are many ways you can identify the correct pronouns for a person. When you introduce yourself, say something like, “Hi, I’m Simran and I use ‘she/her’ pronouns”. Trust us, it isn’t as awkward as it sounds. This will prompt them to declare their pronouns as well. Or you can check out their social media bios too! If none these work, just ask them openly! It’s not offensive or weird. If you’re still clueless, it’s safest to use “they/them”.
If you used a wrong pronoun to identify someone, you are not alone. It happens, we’re all only human. Apologise and correct yourself by using the right pronoun next time! However, if you’re doing it purposely and intentionally, then that’s offensive. So don’t be a pronoun-prick.
Now that you know the importance of pronouns, put it to good use. Apart form declaring your own, encourage those around you to do the same. Being misgendered is not fun for anyone, especially when it keeps happening over and over again. It invalidates their identity and no one should have to go through that.
What do you think about this? Share it with us in the comments below!