Their Gender is Not Your Choice

Their Gender is Not Your Choice

The importance of using correct pronouns.
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When someone tells you their personal gender pronoun, you don't get to disagree with them. Ever. A gender pronoun is not a preference nor a negotiation- but a word which represents an identity.

I am a cisgender female, which means I identify with the gender that corresponds to the sex that I was born with. I am biologically female, and my gender is female as well. I have never dealt with dysphoria or the hardships and difficulties of determining my gender identity. I certainly cannot speak for those who have fought to claim their gender in a world that misjudges gender and sexuality minorities.

However, I strongly believe that people in general are harshly undereducated about gender pronouns and the importance of their correct usage.

Let's start by covering a few basic definitions:

"A pronoun is a word that refers to either the people talking (like I or you) or someone or something that is being talked about (like she, it, them, and this). Gender pronouns (like he and hers) specifically refer to people that you are talking about," is the definition given by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center
In this article, I'll be frequently referring to personal gender pronouns . A personal gender pronoun is a pronoun a person uses to identify themselves.

Let's also remember that sex and gender are not interchangeable. "Sex includes physical attributes such as external genitalia, sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, and internal reproductive structures. At birth, it is used to assign sex, that is, to identify individuals as male or female. Gender on the other hand, is one’s internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither " - Gender Spectrum

Pronouns are derived from the gender that one identifies with. This includes Transgender, Gender Non-Binary, Gender Fluid, Bigender, Cisgender, Genderqueer, Gender Variant, and Gender Non-Conforming.

I recently received a message on Facebook from a young man who knew I am involved in the LGBTQ community and had questions about respecting gender identities. I thought it was wonderful to see someone reaching out for more information about a subject they were unfamiliar with.

He asked, "Do you think it's necessary to be referred to as or called that pronoun?"

I commended him for asking the question. I think this question reflects society as a whole being relatively undereducated about gender and are either afraid or unwilling to ask.

In response to the question...It is absolutely necessary to use someone's personal gender pronoun. It is not your choice or decision what to label someone's gender. Your decision is whether you respect or oppress them with your words. You cannot tell someone's gender simply by looking at them or assuming based on gender stereotypes. "It is a privilege to not have to worry about what pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else's gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive. When someone is referred to by the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric." - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center

Assuming that someone is male because they appear masculine or female because they appear feminine is misguided. Masculinity and femininity are not gender exclusive. Do not let an individual's appearance and society's standards of gender norms define a person's gender for you. Nothing should define a person's gender but they themselves.

Intentionally calling someone by the wrong pronoun or assuming their personal gender pronoun without asking can be damaging. Imagine if someone called you by the wrong name every time you spoke to them, even after you'd corrected them. To be misidentified is disrespectful. It can cause oppression, dysphoria, and feelings of invalidation.

If you're unsure of how to ask someone what pronoun they use- it is simpler than you may think. Start by asking "What pronoun do you use?". I promise it will make you feel less uncomfortable asking than it would to have your gender wrongly assumed.

Oftentimes at conventions or events, name tags are provided that have a space for both your name AND your personal pronoun. It's great. If you're in that situation, it's the perfect way to ensure that you are respecting the pronoun of the person you are speaking to. It's also a great way for YOU to make YOUR personal pronoun known to those you are conversing with.

Historically, she/her and he/him are the most common pronouns. However, there are plenty of gender-neutral pronouns that are just as common. They/them/theirs is a common gender-neutral pronoun that is used in the singular. For instance, "they went for a walk because they were bored". Other commonly used pronouns are ze, hir, ne, ve, ze, and xe.

Here is a helpful website to learn more on how to properly use these pronouns.


Respect is the keyhole at the end of this equation. Respect comes from education and concern for the livelihood of others. Ask questions. Listen for answers. Remember that someone's gender is not your choice. Respect is.

Cover Image Credit: Pink News

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20 Things That Happen When A Jersey Person Leaves Jersey

Hoagies, pizza, and bagels will never be the same.
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Ah, the "armpit of America." Whether you traveled far for college, moved away, or even just went on vacation--you know these things to be true about leaving New Jersey. It turns out to be quite a unique state, and leaving will definitely take some lifestyle adjustment.

SEE ALSO: A Quick PSA To My Fellow New Jerseyians

1. You discover an accent you swore you never had.

Suddenly, people start calling you out on your pronunciation of "cawfee," "wooter," "begel," and a lot more words you totally thought you were saying normal.

2. Pork Roll will never exist again.

Say goodbye to the beautiful luxury that is pork roll, egg, and cheese on a bagel. In fact, say goodbye to high-quality breakfast sandwiches completely.

3. Dealing with people who use Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, or Dominos as their go-to pizza.

It's weird learning that a lot of the country considers chain pizza to be good pizza. You're forever wishing you could expose them to a real, local, family-style, Italian-owned pizza shop. It's also a super hard adjustment to not have a pizza place on every single block anymore.

SEE ALSO: What Being A New Jersey Driver Has Taught Me About Bad Drivers

4. You probably encounter people that are genuinely friendly.

Sure Jersey contains its fair share of friendly people, but as a whole, it's a huge difference from somewhere like the South. People will honestly, genuinely smile and converse with strangers, and it takes some time to not find it sketchy.

5. People drive way slower and calmer.

You start to become embarrassed by the road rage that has been implanted in your soul. You'll get cut off, flipped off, and honked at way less. In fact, no one even honks, almost ever.

6. You realize that not everyone lives an hour from the shore.

Being able to wake up and text your friends for a quick beach trip on your day off is a thing of the past. No one should have to live this way.

7. You almost speak a different language.

The lingo and slang used in the Jersey area is... unique. It's totally normal until you leave, but then you find yourself receiving funny looks for your jargon and way fewer people relating to your humor. People don't say "jawn" in place of every noun.

8. Hoagies are never the same.

Or as others would say, "subs." There is nothing even close in comparison.

9. Needing Wawa more than life, and there's no one to relate.

When you complain to your friends about missing Wawa, they have no reaction. Their only response is to ask what it is, but there's no rightful explanation that can capture why it is so much better than just some convenient store.

10. You have to learn to pump gas. Eventually.

After a long period of avoidance and reluctance, I can now pump gas. The days of pulling up, rolling down your window, handing over your card and yelling "Fill it up regular please!" are over. When it's raining or cold, you miss this the most.

11. Your average pace of walking is suddenly very above-average.

Your friends will complain that you're walking too fast - when in reality - that was probably your slow-paced walk. Getting stuck behind painfully slow people is your utmost inconvenience.

12. You're asked about "Jersey Shore" way too often.

No, I don't know Snooki. No, our whole state and shore is not actually like that. We have 130 miles of some of the best beach towns in the country.

SEE ALSO: College As Told By 'Jersey Shore'

13. You can't casually mention NYC without people idealizing some magical, beautiful city.

Someone who has never been there has way too perfect an image of it. The place is quite average and dirty. Don't get me wrong, I love a good NYC day trip as much as the next person, but that's all it is to you... a day trip.

14. The lack of swearing is almost uncomfortable.

Jerseyans are known for their foul mouths, and going somewhere that isn't as aggressive as us is quite a culture adjustment.

15. No more jughandles.

No longer do you have to get in the far right lane to make a left turn.

16. You realize that other states are not nearly as extreme about their North/South division.

We literally consider them two different states. There are constant arguments and debates about it. The only thing that North and South Jersey can agree on is that a "Central Jersey" does not exist.

17. Most places also are not in a war over meat.

"Pork roll" or "taylor ham"... The most famous debate amongst North and South Jersey. It's quite a stupid argument, however, considering it is definitely pork roll.

SEE ALSO: The Garden State Guide To Essential Jersey Slang

18. You realize you were spoiled with fresh produce.

After all, it's called the "Garden State" for a reason. Your mouth may water just by thinking about some fresh Jersey corn.

19. You'll regret taking advantage of your proximity to everything.

Super short ride to the beach and a super short ride to Philly or NYC. Why was I ever bored?

20. Lastly, you realize how much pride you actually have in the "armpit of America," even if you claimed to dislike it before.

After all, there aren't many places with quite as much pride. You find yourself defending your state at all necessary moments, even if you never thought that would be the case.

Cover Image Credit: Travel Channel

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6 Amazing RuPaul's Drag Race Web Series

For those of us with an insatiable THIRST for drag content.
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Thanks to YouTube channels like WOWPresents and Logo, those of us who watch RuPaul's Drag Race religiously have a huge library of online content to peruse when we're tired of Season 8 reruns. Here's a list, in no particular order, of some of the best RuPaul alumnus content on YouTube.

1. UNHhhh

Starring Trixie Mattel and Katya

UNHhhh is perhaps the most legendary of drag queen YouTube series, and is best enjoyed by accidentally memorizing the words to each episode and talking over Trixie and Katya. To fully appreciate the jokes it's ideal to have seen every previous episode of UNHhhh and RuPaul's Drag Race. Their YouTube show was so popular it landed them an actual TV show on Viceland, The Trixie & Katya Show.


2. Milk's LegenDAIRY Looks

Starring Milk

Milk, from Season 6 of Drag Race and Season 3 of All Stars, has a series of unconventional makeup tutorials. Some looks include Nancy Kerrigan, Little Ho Peep, Udders The Clown, and Ice Woman Cummeth.


3. Really Queen?

Starring Bianca Del Rio

The winner of Season 7 is well-known for her roasting skills, and each video of this 11-video series is dedicated to a different queen or personality from RuPaul Drag Race. Tune in for raspy shouting about Laganja Estranja!


4. Wait, What?

Starring Kimora Blac and Guests

This is a shorter series, but fans of the classic video Drag Queens Not Knowing Things will be enthused. Starring the legendarily, uh, challenged queen Kimora Blac with an array of guests struggling to know stuff in front of a camera.


5. Fashion Photo Ruview

Starring Raven and Raja

Fashion Photo Ruview is perhaps one of the longest-running and most extensive RPDR series on YouTube. In this series, the winner of Season 3, Raja, and close runner-up Raven, "toot" or "boot" looks from the runway, challenges, social media, and promos.


6. M.U.G.

Starring Kim Chi and Naomi Smalls

The last show on this list is brought to you by Season 8's runner-ups, Kim Chi and Naomi Smalls. They're both known for they're makeup skills, and this show is a mix of makeup tutorials and Fashion Photo Ruview (but for makeup looks).


There are plenty more great shows to go around, including Alyssa's Secret and Miz Cracker's Review with a Jew, but these are a great few to take a look at if you haven't already!

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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