I Don't Care If Pronouns Aren't Important To You, They Still Matter

I Don't Care If Pronouns Aren't Important To You, They Still Matter

It might be hard, but you need to be aware of pronouns.
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According to Merriam-Webster the definition of a pronoun is: any of a small set of words in a language that are used as substitutes for nouns or noun phrases and whose referents are named or understood in the context. Okay well what does that mean? It basically means that pronouns are a way people can identify themselves without using their name. She/her/hers and He/him/his are the common pronouns used for people who identify as male or female. However, it is 2018 and if you haven't heard that people can identify as a different gender or no gender at all-where have you been?

Gender (WHICH IS DIFFERENT THAN SEXUALITY-look it up) is a very complicated topic and if you were hoping for an article that would explain it, I'm sorry to disappoint. What this article is for is to explain what pronouns are, how important they are to an individual, and why they matter.

If you are born with female anatomy, identify as a female, and prefer the pronouns she/her/hers and don't plan on changing that, you're lucky. You fit into the boxes that society has made and you don't have to worry about grey area. But there are people who live their entire life in the grey area or are born in the wrong box completely. AND THATS OKAY. Society has made two genders but surprise! There are more than two genders(its a spectrum-again, look it up) and people can identify anywhere on the spectrum or not on the spectrum at all. But like I said, I am not here to give you a lesson on gender. I am here to talk about pronouns-the point of pride for those who live in the grey area or those who were born in the wrong box.

So lets say you are that lucky girl born with female anatomy, identify as a female, and prefer the pronouns she/her/hers and don't plan on changing that...and people you don't know and probably people you do know insist on using he/him/his pronouns for you? How would that make you feel? Would you question your gender or femininity? What would happen to your self confidence? Well there are people who have to worry about these things every day of their life.

Now lets say you don't identify as male or female. You might identify as gender fluid, non-binary, gender queer, omnigender, or another gender neutral title(and again, look it up). Individuals who identify as this for the most part prefer they/them/theirs, ze/zir/zirs, or whatever else they'd like. One second rant: people are allowed to identify as whatever they'd like and they are allowed to prefer whatever pronouns they want and it doesn't affect your life in any way so you literally shouldn't have an opinion about it. If you are someone who doesn't identify as male or female, your pronouns are everything. They describe who you are. Your pronouns are how you showcase yourself to the world. And for those who live outside of societies boxes, pronouns are your way of happily expressing yourself.

Now lets say you identify as a male but you have female anatomy, your parents pushed the female gender on you, and maybe up until a certain point you identified as a female as well. This person, who has complete freedom to take their time discovering or rediscovering who they are, might identify as transgender. It is 2018, you really should know what transgender means. But if you don't, pretty please look it up! Another one second rant: again, people are allowed to identify as whatever they'd like and if you've never felt trapped in your own body then you have no right to judge or question the way someone identifies and surprise! It doesn't affect your life in any way so you literally shouldn't have an opinion about it.

Individuals who are trans are going through one of the most difficult transitions anyone could ever go through. But they are excited! They are happy, proud, and all the hardships are worth it because they are finally able to live their life like the person they've always been. Someone who is trans can go on hormones, change their hair, buy a new wardrobe, and can feel and look great! But that means nothing if you use the wrong pronoun for them. It is an adjustment if you're used to calling them one thing and then you have to change, but it is possible and I promise it means more to them than you know.

Yes, it is hard. It is hard to break the habit of saying 'she' and start saying 'he.' It is hard to remember to say 'they.' It is hard, we all know it. But guess what's harder? Living your life, trying to be happy, and trying to be who you are when society tells you not to. That's hard. Someone questioning if you're in the right bathroom. That's hard. Expressing yourself and being confident and then people taking all that away by purposely calling you the wrong thing. That's hard. No one is asking for perfection. No one is saying that you can't make mistakes. All I ask is that you try. Educate yourself. Start a dialogue. Because this life is hard enough, the least you could do is use someone's preferred pronouns.

Cover Image Credit: WIkimedia Commons

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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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Let's Talk About Israel

As a reform Jew, I have had a lot of problems with the country of Israel and where I stand on supporting its existence versus supporting its government.

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As a reform Jew, I have had a lot of problems with the country of Israel and where I stand on supporting its existence versus supporting its government. I know there is a need for a country for Jewish people to reside without fear of anti-semitism. Especially following the rise of it after the election of the Trump administration and following the shooting in Pittsburg. There have been many actions taken around the world that continue to prove my point that anti-semitism is on the rise and that there is a need for Israel as a home for the Jewish people. However, the actions taken by the Israeli government have made it truly difficult for me to support Israel with all of my being.

Some of my issues with the state of Israel lie within its treatment of Jews who are not Orthodox as well as people who are not Jewish at all. Since it follows international law that all people are allowed to follow there own religious beliefs and practices, it should follow that religious states allow for leniency underneath laws made surrounding religious beliefs. When it comes to Orthodox versus Reform and Conservative Jews, Israel has some laws that directly limit the rights and abilities of this population. For example, Orthodox Rabbis have exclusive rights to perform marriages in Israel.

Also, dual citizenship for Jews is limited to Orthodox Jews. This would mean that every single Jew who is not Orthodox or who did not convert under Orthodox law do not have rights to dual citizenship. Gay marriage is not legal in Israel yet also despite Tel Aviv has one of the biggest Pride Parades that occur each year. With all of these pieces coming together, I have had to come to terms with what it means to support a country whose leader does support me as a reform Jew and as a bisexual woman. My right to practice my chosen profession in Israel would not even be recognized due to the fact that not only am I reform but I am female. I would not be allowed to practice Rabbinic's in Israel.

Also, Israel has been committing atrocities during their recent conflict with Hamas and in their push to claim territory on the West Bank. The Settlements have been created through incentive programs that make it more fiscally reasonable to live there. Israeli citizens often move out there more for financial reasons. The conflicts with Hamas have caused countless civilian casualties on both sides. Both Hamas and the Israeli government have been committing acts of war and putting innocent lives in the way of their continued issue with each other.

Most of what I explained is barely scraping the tip of the iceberg that is Israel and its many conflicts, issues, and history. My issue with Israel rests within its government and the people in charge. The way Netanyahu has taken to leading the country is an embarrassment and a travesty. Watching these actions unfold over the last few years under Netanyahu have made me question my support of such a beautiful country.

Each government has its own issues. However, I have found a fine line between supporting Israel and her right to exist and not supporting her leaders. The people who run the country do not reflect the beliefs of the people and of the religion that the country represents. This must be emphasized as the line between disagreeing with Israel and disagreeing with Judaism altogether has been blurred.

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