Gender is a diverse spectrum. There are a variety of gender identities between and outside the categories of male and female. From cisgender to gender non-conforming, you could identify with any gender.
Gender Identity is the personal sense of one’s gender regardless of their anatomy. One of the common examples would be a ‘tomboy’ – a person having the physicalities of a female who dresses up in manly clothes and lacks feminine body language. Over centuries, we have refused to acknowledge transgenders, bisexuals, or anyone who does not adhere to their assigned gender. They were termed unnatural and outcasts. It is only now that we are developing gender neutrality in languages. The introduction of epicene and gender-neutral pronouns in languages is validating their existence. Epicene pronouns are used for androgynous people. However, everyone is free to choose their pronoun. It is rude to guess someone’s pronouns because of the way they look or behave. Since gender is not limited to male and female, pronouns should be inclusive of other genders. We use ‘he’ and ‘she’ for most people but we need other pronouns.
Preferred Gender Pronouns are pronouns that an individual prefers to be addressed by. A cisgender is a person who identifies with their biological gender. A cisgender man could choose to be addressed as he/him only or a gender-neutral pronoun. It entirely depends on the person. Different countries have come up with different pronouns. Most languages are introducing new variations of old pronouns as Gender-neutral pronouns. In Spanish ‘x, ‘@’ or ‘e’ is used to create gender-neutral nouns. ‘Hen’ has been added to Swedish dictionaries as an alternative to male ‘han’ and female ‘hon’. In English, it is ‘they’. Using ‘they’ as both singular and plural can be confusing but was used by Shakespeare, Austen, and others. Mx has been introduced as a gender-neutral honorific in the English language. English language or any language for that matter does not limit gender-neutral pronouns to the ones mentioned above. It is the community that chooses to be identified using certain pronouns.
Using the right pronoun will make the LGBTQ+ Community feel acknowledged. Assuming a person’s pronoun is not a good practice. It could hurt sentiments and bitter relationships. A person can also make known their pronouns by making them a part of their introduction. Although they/them are gender-neutral pronouns, it is polite to ask a person’s preferred pronouns. It increases validation and acceptance. If you mistakenly use incorrect pronouns, let the person know you are genuinely sorry. Everyone deserves respect and has self-ascribed names and pronouns. The first step to create a welcoming space for people of all gender is using appropriate pronouns. People are putting their pronouns in their social media biographies and like email, signatures to spread awareness and create a healthier social and workspace for all.
Many schools and universities across the world ask for gender pronouns when registering for classes. Elementary schools are adopting gender-neutral pronouns too. The kids are gender-nonconforming and no gender should be forced upon a person. The world is becoming a more inclusive and diverse place. Accepting and including gender pronouns might be a big step for various languages and cultures yet a small step towards making the LGBTQ+ community an intricate part of society.
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