Let’s Talk Pronouns

Lets+Talk+Pronouns

Sasha A. Murray , Staff Writer

   With the world becoming more open-minded and lgbtq+ friendly, how do you keep up? Well, a good place to start is with a person’s pronouns. Personal pronouns allow people to differentiate themselves from others like he/him and she/her for example. 

In today’s world, gender can be a heavy and opinionated topic, with bias based on everything from religion to household values. The issue is not the bias itself but its push from older generations onto newer ones. According to Harvard PhD sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity contributor, Sabra L. Katz-Wise,“ Gender identity develops within multiple social contexts: a person’s family, their larger community, and the society and historical time they are from… each containing different norms and expectations about gender expression and gender identity.”  Questioning gender or sexual orientation is not easy, so the creation of a safe and gender neutral mindset is pivotal to the person transitioning and their peers. With the creation of a positive mindset within the person, they are less susceptible to outside opinions and become more confident within themselves. For those around the transitioning individual, a positive and anti-bias mindset teaches them valuable skills they can apply to others. 

Cisgender means a person’s gender identity matches the sex designated on their original  birth certificate. The term gender fluidity refers to a change over time in a person’s gender expression or gender identity, or both. Similarily, nonbinary means a person’s gender identity does not fit into strict cultural categories of male and female. To put it simply, not everyone fits into cisgender classification.

In today’s world, there are many who have or are pushing the boundary of the sexes. With the addition of an open-minded youth, those individuals are provided with a sense of freedom and pride when they alter their pronouns to become comfortable in themselves. Though gender identity growth is wonderful, there are still issues that many face when addressing their pronouns. Wise says, “Children and teens who express or identify their gender differently from their designated sex are more likely to experience predudice and discrimination. Thus creating minority stress that is harmful for their mental and physical health.” With this new information in mind, Wise asks, how to respectfully ask for someone’s pronouns or maintain a safe gender-neutral space and mindset.  According to Club Soda’s sponsor, Ms. Norris “Teacher’s can easily create a comfortable space for all students by starting the year with a Google Form that asks for pronouns. This ensures students can respond with their pronouns within a safe space and not be called out in front of a large group.” This is a great example of how an older generation of people can show respect and acceptance, through providing students with a safe, private platform that maintains sensitivity to their personal experiences. Similarly, there are verbal ways to politely invite others to share their pronouns with you. Norris says, “ When I introduce myself to people, I give my name followed by my pronouns being she/her. Then I ask if they would like to share their pronouns with me.” During the first introduction, inviting a person to talk about their pronouns can create a tone of positivity and neutrality for the individual.

All in all, the world is developing in major ways, including promoting steps towards gender neutrality.  Expanding gender identity or questioning it; may seem small, but is actually a large step in a bright, and wonderful direction.