You probably find it important that others pronounce your name properly, but you might not have questioned how people refer to you with pronouns. Nonetheless, referring to others with correct pronouns such as she, he, or they, is an equally important way of showing respect to others.
Using the right pronouns which the person prefers shows respect towards their gender identity. Gender identity is a personal experience of one’s gender. Gender can be seen as a binary or non-binary spectrum. The gender binary spectrum includes expectations of masculinity and femininity. The non-binary spectrum includes gender identities that exist outside the male-female gender binary. Genderfluid identity describes a gender identity, which changes over time at different times.
Not everyone identifies with some or all of the features of gender assigned to their natal sex. Some of these people can be transgender, non-binary, genderfluid, or genderqueer people. Some countries also have third gender categories.
People can use specific pronouns, any pronouns, or none at all. Instead of assuming someone’s identity or which pronouns they use, by providing the opportunity for others to self-identify, you’re respecting people’s identities and creating a more welcoming space for people of all genders. When providing the opportunity for people to share their pronouns you’re also showing that you’re not assuming that their gender identity is based on their appearance. However, not everyone is comfortable or required to share their pronouns. For a variety of understandable reasons, some people may choose to not share their pronouns.
If you’re accidentally using the wrong pronouns to identify someone, it’s alright to apologize and correct yourself to use the right pronoun. Everyone makes mistakes at times. Nevertheless, it’s meaningful to take accountability for your mistake and to continue using the correct pronoun.
What pronouns do you prefer?