Nonbinary identification has soared over the last few years. It is amazing to see so many people feeling brave enough to identify as the person they are. That is why learning about why pronouns matter is so important.
Even though most countries are making significant progress towards equality, there is still much progress to be made. Many binary people are ignorant of the harm caused by using a dead name or the female and male pronouns when the individual no longer identifies as such.
Why Pronouns Matter
More and more people feel free to identify as nonbinary, transgender, or gender nonconforming. Society is heading in the right direction as schools and workplaces respect the gender identities of the individuals in their community.
Unfortunately, society still has a lot to learn, and the best way to educate each other is by talking about the issues surrounding pronouns that can create harmful messages.
Personal pronouns are essential in valuing a person’s sexuality and gender identities. Think of it this way—as much as a person with an unusual name feels disrespected by the mispronunciation of their name, using the wrong pronouns can cause just as much or even more harm.
When using the wrong pronoun, the message you send is that you do not respect their identity and preferences. That’s why it’s critical you learn more about preferred pronouns.
How to Use Pronouns
Making a mistake is okay. Please don’t make a big deal out of it or draw unnecessary attention to the mistake. Use the correct pronoun in the future and apologize to the referred person if needed.
Pronouns have a gender, and therefore using the wrong one is implying the wrong gender. A person who identifies as a female and is often called by him/his pronouns will feel disrespected by the gender-implied term.
There are several singular pronouns used. The most common of the preferred pronouns are ze/hir, they/them, she/her, and he/him.
Some examples are:
“Ze drew this” and “This is hir art.”
“They drew this” and “This is art is made by them.”
“She drew this” and “This is her art.”
“He drew this” and “This is his art.”
This is not an extensive list of personal pronouns. However, many resources can help.
There are many ways to educate the community around us and become an ally to those in the LGBTQ+ community.
Recently, Merriam-Webster added they and themself as singular pronouns to the dictionary. This is an excellent step to gender equality and creating safe environments for those around us.
We must support the nonbinary people at our work and campus community and create a dialogue about the importance of pronouns.
How to Create an Inclusive Environment
It is up to us to create an inclusive environment in our work or school. We cannot rely on others to do so. We will discuss some of the best actions to create a safe place for everyone around us.
A great way to start is to include your preferred pronouns in your email signature or on your social media page. Instagram recently added the option of filling in your pronouns, which is fantastic!
Another way is to introduce yourself with your pronouns, encouraging others to share their pronouns as well.
Or you can just ask! You can phrase the question like this:
“Hiya! My name is Lizzy, and I go by her and she pronouns. How would you like me to refer to you?”
It’s as simple as that!
Let’s Talk More
Using gender pronouns can be new to some of us. However, this is not a new issue. We are finally talking about the right things and learning why pronouns matter.
Let’s not stop!
If you or a loved one are struggling with feeling validated as a transgender or nonbinary person, do not hesitate to seek counseling.
Why Pronouns Matter – Modern Intimacy Podcast – Casey Tanner, LCPC @queersextherapy – Episode 4
In this episode, Dr. Kate Balestrieri and Casey Tanner, LCPC discuss the merits in understanding pronouns, how to think about them, and how to begin taking steps to changing your language to include a more expansive and inclusive vocabulary. They discuss how to ask about pronouns, how and when to declare them, and what to do if you make a mistake.
Guest info: Casey Tanner, LCPC is an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist who combines evidence-based research, queer affirming care, and pleasure activism to cultivate powerful relationships. Specializing in gender and sexual diversity, Casey partners with individuals, relationships, and institutions to expand limited mindsets, foster courageous behavior, and empower meaningful change around gender and sexuality.
Connect with Casey on Instagram @queersextherapy or www.theexpansivegroup.com
To submit ideas for future podcasts, please visit www.modernintimacy.com/podcast
To schedule a consultation with a Clinician at Modern Intimacy, visit www.modernintimacy.com/contact
Subscribe to the podcast here: Apple Podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/id1563975869 Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/4YUuXpunV1W4GfMmcu0qXu?si=mfuyAkhrTraN1Nv0SYy2lQ
Stay connected with Dr. Kate on Social Media:
Instagram: @drkatebalestrieri + @themodernintimacy
Intro and Outro Credits Erica Gerard www.podkitproductions.com #malegaze #misogyny #patriarchy #mentalheatlh #relationships #podcast