Gender Pronouns: What They Are Used For

Gender Pronouns: What They Are Used For

"Not every person feels that they belong to the gender that they were born with."
Adrian
Adrian
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In our society, not everyone is comfortable in their bodies and gender identities. To help those affected, our Western society has created gender pronouns. Even though most of the people that are affected by misused pronouns are apart of the LGBTQI+ community, it can happen to anyone.

What is a gender pronoun?

A gender pronoun is how a person wants to refer to their gender. The form of your pronouns are seen as your “preferred pronouns”, or the pronouns that a person chooses to use for themselves. Personally I am a cisgender female who refers to myself as she, her, hers.

Not every person feels that they belong to the gender that they were born with. For example, a transgendered person is one whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to the conventional notions of male or female gender in many cases seeing themselves as the opposite gender. Along with those who feel that they do not belong to either gender, who are often referred to as gender non-binary; which is an umbrella term for those who fluctuate between both genders or simply refuses gender altogether.

As millennials, we are taught to believe that the idea of gender pronouns is something new and started by our generation. However, in many civilizations before our time, those who do not belong to a specific gender identity, or the opposite gender have been seen in many cultures outside of our own for many years. In the past, people whose gender identities differed from the norm were often separated from society, and lived in a safe space set aside by their society.

Many of the identity issues fall under the umbrella of the LGBTQI+ community but it effects everyone. However, any person can be affected by the use of proper pronouns. In most cases a cisgender woman would feel uncomfortable or may be offended if referred to as he, him, or his; while a cisgender man may not like the fact that he is referred to as she, her, hers. It is important to realize that even though we do not have this issues everyday, there may be someone around us who does. Every single person is impacted by genders and deserves to have their personal identity recognized and respected.

On the other hand of personal identity issues come the issue where a child is born as intersex. Intersex is the term used for a child who is born with the reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit typical definitions of male and female. In many cases the children who are born as intersex, may feel that they belong to no gender, or simply belong to both as their reproductive and sexual anatomy shows. During childhood, parents are oftentimes responsible for making a decision that their child will have to live with, which is their gender. Most doctors recommend surgery to correct the child’s “defects,” leaving the choice of gender to the family. Some of the children affected by this may later on have issues whether it is conforming to their biological gender, or feeling comfortable in their body. At this point, it is the intersex person’s choice as to their pronouns.

Finally, a common issue amongst the population comes the misused gender pronouns which may scare some away from using them in the first place. To be honest, it is okay to slip up; at one point or another you may misrecognize someone or just simply forget. But if you do so make it a point to correct yourself or simply ask if you are unsure. If you see someone being misgendered, try not to ignore it. You want to be an ally and make the area safe for everyone so if you can, please try and not only watch yourself but those around you so you can make it a safe place for everyone. You may not always know someone’s gender pronoun by their appearance so it is important to realize this. It is not only a sign of respect, but it avoids alienation, dysphoria, invalidation, etc. We have the privilege of living in a time where gender pronouns are used even if it is different from the gender they appear; so please do not disrespect those around you, and become an ally for everyone around you by respecting everyone and their gender identities individually.

Gender identity is something that every single person is plagued with. Whether you are a cisgender person, intersex, transgender or a non-conforming or gender-queer person gender identities affect you. At this point in 2016, we are working as a culture to make gender identities more known and understood but we are also working to take away the negative stigma that is brought to those who are negatively affected. Our society needs to recognize these people and help them and make our society a safe place for them to share themselves freely. To make our society a safer and more open space, it would be a good idea to make the idea of gender pronouns better known and understood. The more positive stigma gender pronouns and identities have, the less negativity it will receive from the public. Most people that find pronouns an issue are just ignorant to gender identity issues. Personally I think that if people are better educated on gender identity and personal pronouns it would better us as a people, where it would no longer be seen as “weird” or “strange”, and will become the norm.




Common Gender Pronouns

Cisgender female: she, her, hers

Cisgender male: he, him, his

Gender Neutral [singular]: they, them, that

Gender Neutral [Ze]: Ze [pronounced: “zee”], hir [pronounced “here”], hirself [pronounced: “here-self”]


To help those who may be confused or don’t know some of the words used above:

Cisgender: denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex

Transgender: a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender

Gender pronoun: a pronoun associated with a particular grammatical gender, such as masculine, feminine, or neuter, or with a social or biological gender (or sex), i.e., male or female

LGBTQI+: stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex, but is often an umbrella term for any sexual orientations or gender identities

Non-binary: a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities which are thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity

Gender-neutral: suitable for, applicable to, or common to both male and female genders.

Gender fluid: person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. Their gender can also vary at random or vary in response to different circumstances.

Gender-Queer: denoting or relating to a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders

Agender: a term which can be literally translated as 'without gender'. It can be seen either as a non-binary gender identity or as a statement of not having a gender identity. People who identify as agender may describe themselves as one or more of the following: Genderless or lacking gender.

Intersex: a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Cover Image Credit: Ricochet

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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It's 2019, And I Can Confirm One Size Does Not Fit All, At All

I'll take feeling good over meeting your standards. Thank you.

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We live in a society where being yourself and expressing who you truly are is something that is becoming more and more accepted and is actually trendy. Left and right, people are coming forward and declaring who they are and want to be in life and there is a crowd of people there to cheer them on.

There is also always that small percent sitting in the corner, ready to throw derogatory comments and taint the self-love, respect, and acceptance that's flowing.

Every single time this happens, the internet breaks and feuds form in the comment sections. How many times does this fight have to be had before people just mind their own business? How someone looks is frankly none of your concern. Whether you think the person is too fat, too skinny, too girly, too rough, too whatever, it's none of your business.

I'm a firm believer that one should focus on their own life instead of living to tear others down. You should be more concerned with feeling good in your own body than wasting your energy trying to make people ashamed of theirs. It's not your place to comment on someone's appearance.

We should work on building up confidence and feeling good in our skin. Exercising, working on your mental health, and surrounding yourself with good energy will improve your life exponentially. DO NOT do this to achieve an aesthetic or try to look like an Instagram model. Only do it to feel good about yourself internally. What you look like on the outside should only matter to you.

I would be lying if I said I didn't fall victim to countless beautiful women who post their swimsuit photos looking like they stepped out of Vogue magazine. I would be lying if I said I didn't struggle with my own body image and have to remind myself daily that it's okay to not fit their mold. I won't lie to you. We live in a world that feels the need to comment on every inch of our skin rather than focus on more important issues. Shut off the noise and ignore the words that are given in hate. You have better things to do than focus on their negativity.

Make your own mold.

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