Those Of You That Need A Crash Course In Gender Equality, Here Are Some Pronouns For Ya

Those Of You That Need A Crash Course In Gender Equality, Here Are Some Pronouns For Ya

A crash course on how to use them, how to ask for them, and how to react if you get it wrong.
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Pronouns.

To most people, pronouns are just a way to refer to someone without saying their name, but pronouns are a major point of stress or pride in some people's daily lives.

As someone who is cisgender and my pronouns match how most people would perceive my gender expression, I am in no way qualified to speak to the magnitude of how this affects some people. That being said, I have been collecting tips from people who have struggled with their pronoun usage, I have taken classes and attended workshops on gender and how to be a better ally. Most importantly, I have a platform. I write articles that get anywhere from a couple hundred to over 6,000 views. If this article just gets a few people thinking about pronouns, then it made a difference.

What are some common pronouns people use?

This is not an exhaustive list of all the pronouns that people use, but this is an introduction to some of the common pronouns used today.

They are not preferred pronouns, they are just their pronouns.

Preferred is just a needless word. They are just their pronouns. Preferred implies that they are encouraged but optional. The truth is, they should not just be a suggestion. Just like your pronouns are not a suggestion, neither are theirs.

“They/them/theirs” is usually a safe bet until someone specifies what pronouns they prefer.

“They” is a gender-neutral pronoun and can be used to describe anyone. I know some grammar buffs will complain that “they” is plural and it feels weird referring to a singular person with a plural, but I am sure it feels even more uncomfortable to be referred to with the incorrect pronouns on a regular basis and/or having to correct people on the pronouns they use to refer to you. If I, someone whose career is dependant on her grammar skills, can find the strength to use “they”, then you can too.

Giving your own pronouns is an easy way to make sure you are using the correct pronouns for other people.

If you introduce yourself with your pronouns, others will most likely be inclined to share theirs. For example:

“Hi, my name is Kassy. I use she/her/hers pronouns.”

This does a couple of things. It opens the door for people to tell you what pronouns they prefer so you don't need to have to be corrected later. It breaks down the stigma around pronouns and lets people know you are someone that is safe to request the correct pronoun usage with. This also can get a conversation started about why your introduce your pronouns and why they are important.

If someone corrects you or you use the incorrect pronouns, there is no need to make a huge deal of it.

I have heard this time and time again. When people use the incorrect pronouns, they usually make it more about themselves and cause a scene when there does need to be.

I cannot speak for all people, but most would rather you just correct your mistake and then move on.

“Sam took his, excuse me, her phone to the shop because she cracked the screen again.”

or

“Alex sang her, sorry, his favorite song the whole way here.”

Simple, straightforward, and respectful. You don’t need a dramatic and weepy apology about how you are trying so hard to get it right, but it is just so difficult. It is more difficult for them. It is more highly appreciated if you demonstrate that you are working on it and don’t make it about how hard this is for you.

At the end of the day, you have to choose whether being considerate of others or your own ideas about what pronouns should be means more to you. I would urge you to evaluate the positive or negative effect it may have on your life vs. the positive or negative effect it may have on the lives of others.

Cover Image Credit: Gotta Be Worth It

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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If You Think Belly Dancing Is Sexual, You're Missing The Whole Point

Believe it or not, exposed stomachs aren't inherently sexual.

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What we know as belly dancing here in America started in the middle east as a way for mothers to teach their daughters how to isolate certain muscles that they would use in childbirth, thus making the process an easier one when it was their time to go through it.

This cultural dance began with mothers teaching daughters behind closed doors where men weren't allowed to watch. It's possible that this fact helped cause some of the negative stigmas behind it by people who do not know its true origin.

Long story short (because I'm not looking to place false facts in this article), belly dancing moved over to America after a while and it wasn't necessarily accepted at first. Today, there is a multitude of belly dancing styles, including belly dance fusion which combines more traditional dancing with modern takes on it by blending multiple cultures or dancing styles.

You're probably wondering why a white girl such as myself is trying to educate you on something that clearly isn't a part of my own culture. Well, for those of you who don't know (or who couldn't recognize me from the cover photo), I belly dance at my university as part of an extracurricular club.

This club is easily one that I am most passionate about. I joined the club in my first semester as a freshman and have stuck with it for the past six semesters, and plan to stick with it for my last two. I came into the club with little previous dance experience and no previous belly dance experience, much like almost everyone else I've seen come and go.

I've heard of professors at my school who said they wouldn't go to our shows because it "made him uncomfortable." Why? Because our stomachs are out and we're moving our hips? That doesn't make our dancing inherently sexual.

We have a rule within our club that if any of us go out to parties, we cannot use belly dancing moves to try to woo guys or girls. Because guess what? That's not the point of belly dancing.

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