Pronouns are essential to communication, but nowadays getting a person’s pronoun right is more crucial than ever. The world has come to a point of social and cultural maturity that it’s important to show respect and make people welcome by using their pronounce preference.
Some people think it’s impossible to get it right, but in reality, using the correct pronouns is often as easy as asking. Read on to learn how to get someone’s pronoun preference right!
A decade ago, gender neutral pronouns were rare and many people didn’t treat them seriously. But today, society has grown to a point where everyone can hope to be included without gender-specific expectations.
Is there anything wrong with gendered pronouns like “he” and “she”? Nothing at all! However, gendered pronouns bring with them a set of social expectations. This means that depending on the pronoun, society expects people to behave and express themselves in a certain way.
While most people still prefer gendered pronouns, there are those who feel that their behavior should not be restricted by gender normativity. For those people, self-expression lies outside the binary he/she and in the non-binary gender spectrum.
Transgender and genderqueer persons will appreciate it if you used their preferred pronouns when addressing them. Want to know more about gender neutral pronouns? Check out this informational post.
So, you just met someone who doesn’t want to be referred to with gendered pronouns. What should you do?
The easiest and most straightforward thing to do is to just ask. Ask the person in front of you how they would like to be referred to. Most of the time, transgender and genderqueer people will be delighted to tell you all about their preferred pronouns.
The point is not being perfect 100% of the time. Everyone does mistakes, and when you have to deal with some of the more exotic pronouns, it’s OK to do a mistake or two. What’s important is to show that you acknowledge and respect the pronoun preference of the person you are addressing.
So, it’s OK to ask, and it’s OK if your tongue slips a few times while you are getting accustomed to gender neutral pronouns. Just keep at it and make sure the person you are addressing feels comfortable.
The most common gender neutral pronoun is they/them/their. When in doubt, you can always use they/them/their and chances are the person you are addressing will be OK with that. If not, they will correct you and you’ll know what to say from thereon.
Other gender neutral pronouns include ze, ey, peh, E, xe, ve, and many others. You can always consult Google, and when in doubt, just ask!
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