Pronouns, or specifically personal pronouns, put simply, are words used to refer to either yourself or another person. We use pronouns to help specify whom we are speaking about. Using an individuals’ pronouns correctly is as helpful and respectful as calling someone by their name.
Pronouns aid us in our gender expression, self-expression, and being avid allies to the LGBTQIA+ community through practising diversity and inclusivity in something as manageable as our conversations.
Here are a small number of examples:
These are all just examples. Everyone is different – that is the beauty of it all! A person has the freedom and right to choose personal pronouns that make them feel most comfortable.
Yes, pronouns are important.
We have been using pronouns in our daily lives since we learnt to talk to and about others. It’s a point of identification that allows us to express ourselves.
Many people are starting to recognise the importance of using individuals correct personal pronouns thanks to influential activists, articles, social media posts, and the ease of sharing this information with our friends and family.
By opening ourselves up to conversations about pronouns, we are given the opportunity to learn not to assume someone’s pronouns based on a person’s physical appearance in relation to societal stereotypes.
Many people include their personal pronouns within email signatures (have a look at The WOW Networkswebsite for a quick and easy breakdown of this tip) and social media bio’s; this is a swift and straightforward step you can take to help those you communicate with know of your personal pronouns and convey your support and respect for their pronouns.
In a safe environment, meeting someone new face to face, you can simply ask! Try introducing yourself and your pronouns first to help them feel comfortable sharing their pronouns.
If you think you’ve accidentally used the wrong pronouns for someone in conversation, quickly apologise and correct yourself. Nobody’s perfect; mistakes are made, own it, and progress forward.
Finally, show your support! You can do this during days like International Pronouns Day each year on the third Wednesday of October. Share information and educational posts like this one to help normalise conversations about gender and self-expression.