Hey everyone, I hope you’re doing well. This month is LGBTQ+ History Month, an important month for LGBTQ+ individuals and a chance to learn about how the community got to where it is today. One development that has come with the growing acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community is the changes that come in language. A big language change is other pronouns coming into use.
What are pronouns? Pronouns are words used to refer to nouns when not specifically using the noun’s proper name. There are many pronouns; the most common two in English are “he/him” and “she/her”. Others include (but are not limited to) “they/them”, “ze/zir” and “xe/xem”.
All pronouns are valid. If a person asks you to use specific pronouns, then those are the ones you should use. It doesn’t matter if you find them strange to use, it is a matter of respect for the person using them.
Try your best! It is understandable that sometimes you may mix up someone’s pronouns; mistakes happen. What matters is that you try your hardest to use the correct ones, and if you get it wrong, apologise and correct yourself.
Not sure of someone’s pronouns? Ask! People tend to assume someone’s pronouns based on how they look. This isn’t the way things should be. When you meet someone, ask their pronouns. It is much better to say you are unsure and ask for the correct ones than it is to assume some and get it wrong.
There is no shame in asking. If you’re finding it difficult, here’s an analogy: Pronouns are like any forms of gender expression. Take clothes for example; although society has endless rules and expectations regarding what people of certain genders should and shouldn’t wear, you can still try on anything you like. You might find certain clothes are a good fit and “feel right” on you, even if they were “meant for another gender”. This shouldn’t stop you from wearing them. This analogy can be applied to pronouns. For many people pronouns are a form of gender expression, and there is no “correct way” to for someone to express their gender.
If you have found this useful or interesting, then you might like the LGBTQ+ historical figures presentation happening on Thursday 25th February. It would be wonderful to see you there!