Preferred Pronouns and what they mean
TEXT: Kanika Joshi
EDITOR: Janhavi Khanna
People have been writing pronouns in their social media bios all over the world. From Kamala Harris- the vice president of USA to Onir- the film director, everybody is practicing this to showcase their support to the LGBTQIA+ community. So let’s get to know a bit more about this.
These are called Preferred Pronouns. They refer to the set of third-person pronouns (he/him, she/her, they/them, etc.) that a person prefers to be identified as. It allows everyone to self-identify instead of being allotted an identity. Including pronouns is important towards respecting people’s identity and creating a more welcoming space for people of all genders as gender should not be assumed based on expression (clothing, hairstyle or mannerism). By asking for people’s preferred pronouns, you create a safe and inclusive environment for all. It is important to respect and validate another person’s identity by using their preferred gender pronouns. Misgendering involves the use of a person’s incorrect pronouns, because many associate their pronouns with their gender identity, using the wrong pronouns intentionally or unintentionally is a form of misgendering, which can at times be disrespectful and hurtful for that person.
If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun when identifying someone, the right thing to do is to apologise and immediately use the right pronoun. Everyone makes mistakes but taking accountability for your mistake and continuing to use the correct pronoun is the right thing to do. However, providing space and opportunity for people to share their pronouns does not mean that everyone feels comfortable or needs to share their pronouns. Some people may choose not to share their pronouns for a variety of reasons. For example- if they are deliberating or using different pronouns, they don’t use any pronouns, they don’t feel comfortable sharing them at that moment or in that space, or they fear bullying or harassment after sharing them.
Putting your pronouns in your bio if you’re cisgender, helps to normalise it, so people who aren’t cisgender don’t feel like they’re different or targeted. It helps to protect them and overall it creates a more inclusive environment. This will help people unlearn homophobic attitudes that have been passed on for generations. It will thus create a progressive change in society.
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