What are pronouns and why are they important?
Pronouns are linguistic tools that we use to refer to people. (i.e. they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his). It is important to give the opportunity for people to state the pronoun that is correct to use when referring to them. Often times, people make assumptions about the gender of a person based on person's appearance and/or name. This can be very harmful in stating that people have to look a certain way to demonstrate the gender that they are or are not. Using personal pronouns is a way to respect others and create an inclusive space just as using a person's name can be a way to respect them.
(This is NOT an exhaustive list)
|Subjective||Possessive Adjective||Objective||Possessive Pronoun||Reflexive|
Using pronouns other than the ones a person has asked you to use can make them feel unwelcome, invisible, or unsafe in the community. This is called misgendering someone. Sometimes a person's pronouns will change without a change in gender identity or expression. If you make a mistake, quickly correct yourself and apologize. Do not make a big deal out of it for it is not necessarily helpful and could be harmful.
Example: They reminded themself to pick up their umbrella before going outside.
How you could ask: "I use they/them/their pronouns, how about you?" "Hi, my name is Akeem, and I go by he/him pronouns. How should I refer to you?"
How you could share: "I'm Nancy and my pronouns are she and her" "Leo, I prefer they and them, but he is fine too." "My name is Jade, I use she/her pronouns."
Ways to make lanugage more inclusive:
"Hello, everyone" or "How are y'all doing today?" in a group setting instead of "Hey, guys!" or "Hey ladies" or "How are you guys doing?"
"They are a first year" when referring to a student instead of "they are a freshman".
If you are unsure of somoene's pronouns, you can use their name in place of any pronoun: "Sam was feeling hungry, so Sam went to WCG for a snack."
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