To celebrate everyone and promote inclusivity, MC celebrated International Pronouns Day on Thursday, October 21. Students were encouraged to pick up a pin outside Pearson’s Hall and give their thoughts on why pronouns were important. We can all agree that respect is fundamental to anyone. Respect lets us communicate with individuals whom we are getting to know. One thing that should also be learned is that along with respect, we must try to understand everyone’s preferred pronouns correctly. We all live in a world where kindness is not always shown, so even the smallest acknowledgments can make people feel loved and appreciated.
Pronouns are simple words used to replace a noun, usually people’s names. Most times, asking a person directly about their preferred pronouns is more helpful than assuming because of their sex. Asking them directly will let them know that you are trying your best to make them feel included. Inclusivity is critical. People who are asked about their pronouns will more than likely feel comfortable and respected by the people surrounding them. Assuming an individual’s pronouns can send an unintended message. People may take offense, feel unwanted or simply feel uncomfortable. In a social gathering, people should feel pleased, heard and acknowledged with respect.
In the LGBTQ+ community, we will find diverse individuals who associate themselves with different pronouns. It is important to make them feel respected, make sure they know they are being represented correctly and make them feel comfortable with how they choose to identify. Educating ourselves on the differences between sex and gender will also reduce the chances of assuming other’s pronouns. Sex is what biologically defines an individual as a male or female, what is assigned at birth. On the other hand, gender is a social construct regarding the preference of gender identity—this is where pronouns become important to an individual. We cannot always assume pronouns just by people’s exterior. Associating people’s exterior with socially constructed pronouns is not correct, and in most cases makes the other person highly uncomfortable.
So what would happen if you incorrectly assumed someone’s pronouns? The best thing to do is apologize and educate yourself. It is only a mistake if you don’t correct your wrongdoings. After acknowledging that you were wrong, simply memorize that individual’s pronoun, and move forward. It all comes back down to respect. Everyone is entitled to feel respected and appreciated for who they are, no matter how they choose to identify.
“Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, gender identity: speak yourself.” This is a favorite quote of mine that speaks volumes about equality. It was given by a member of a Korean boy band that launched a campaign called “Love Myself” in November 2017. This is a part of a small speech given at the UN Assembly in 2018. Concluding that, society cannot label anyone forcibly. As individuals, we have the power and the authority to speak for ourselves.