First of all I want to say Hi. My name is Nicole and I am a cisgender female who’s preferred pronouns are she/her.
When we introduce ourself to people we typically don’t state our pronouns because we have made a habit to presume ones gender and we need to put a stop to this. There is a huge misconception that gender is the same as sex in which they are not.
Sex refers to the biological differences such as chromosomes, hormonal profiles and internal and external sex organs.
Gender on the other hand describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine.
Now back to the issue of pronouns, we can’t assume ones pronouns just based on appearance because its not an issue based on physical characteristics but based on what they identify with. Misgendering a person can lead to one feeling disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric ( often all of the above.) A basic way to show respect towards one’s gender identity is asking for their pronouns.
When we meet a person we don’t typically presume one name because thats presumptuous so why should we do that with pronouns when it comes with the effect of many one feel invalidated? It may be awkward at first to state your pronouns but personally I would rather go through the awkwardness than make one feel like they aren’t valued or respected which is a basic human right.
It is a privilege not having to worry about what pronouns people are going to use based on your appearance and if you have that privilege yet refuse to respect another persons gender identity it is not only disrespectful but it is oppressive as well.
WE DO NOT USE OUR PRIVILEGE TO OPRESS THE MARGINALIZED!!!
There are people out there who flat our refuse the idea gender fluidity and gender identity because they believe it is the same as sex which is disgusting behavior.
Gender is socially constructed and ideas of gender roles and norms are learned from birth which we learn from parents, school, religion and other external factors and gender experience constantly changes as we grow up therefore gender is always in flux.
I think of gender like a scale. One side is masculinity and one side is femininity. I see the arrow constantly changing across the scale and fluctuating as we grow up.
Therefore the idea that there are only two genders is ridiculous because there are SO MANY.
Here are a few genders and definitions:
Agender Somebody who either feels they have no gender identity, or who identify not as male or female but ‘neutral.’
Bigender Relatively straightforward: a bigender person sees themselves as having two gender identities. The separate genders could both be male, or female, mixed or other – and may be felt at the same time or entirely distinctly.
Demigender A catchall term for all identities that only have a partial connection to a certain gender. Demiboy and demigirl are also frequently used.
Genderfluid A term describing individuals for whom gender is unfixed: they fluctuate between different identities aside from their biological assignment.
Gender neutral A synonym for ‘agender’: somebody who identifies with no gender.
Gender queer An umbrella term covering any feelings about gender alternative to society’s traditional expectations.
Polygender Identifying with several different genders either at the same time or different times. Normally the term is given to those with four or more.
Transgender/Trans An umbrella term for any individual whose gender identity is different from what is typically associated with their assigned biological sex at birth. It should be noted that transgenderism is a gender identity and not a sexual orientation, therefore no assumptions should be made as a result.
So please please respect everyone’s gender identity and the first step is to start publicizing your pronouns the way you do with your age or name. This is especially to cisgender people because we have the privilege not to worry about our pronouns so we need to state them in order to eradicate the feelings of invalidation to those who don’t. We need to ally ourselves with the marginalized and help spread positivity and create situations that can evoke such feelings instead of the opposite especially in such a time full of bigotry and hate.
To those in the LGBTQ+ community: You are important. You are loved. You are valued. and you are respected.
Till next time,