A person’s gender is always valid. Even if you don’t understand.
When we we use pronouns like “she” or “he” to identify a person, we might be making an assumption about that person’s gender that differs from their preferred gender identity. Some people express their gender identity ambiguously, meaning you might not know which pronoun to use just by looking at them and have to make an assumption. For other people, appearances can be deceiving– even people who clearly look to be one gender may identify as a different gender than you would assume. When someone has a different gender identity than you would assume that means a different pronoun.
Pronouns are the words used to refer to a person other than their name, like they, she and he. However, genderqueer people may instead prefer they, xe, or other gender neutral pronouns.
When a trans person comes out, they may have new pronouns they want to use, and it shows respect for someone when you make an effort to use the pronouns they’d like you to use.
A new campaign written and produced by members of Victoria’s (Australia) sexually and gender diverse organisation Minus18, has been created to get people up to speed on the awkward topic of pronouns.
“When you come out as trans, people sometimes take a while to adjust to your new pronouns, or don’t quite understand. So we launched a new campaign to help! An article that introduces the topic, a video with a rundown from trans young people, and a web app where you can learn and practice pronouns!
It can take a bit of getting used to. but it’s important to get it right. There are lots of reasons it’s important to use the correct pronouns a person prefers, but the simple answer is it can make a person feel pretty shit when you use the wrong ones.
The Minus18 crew
Minus18 is Australia’s largest youth-led organisation for same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people.
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