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Here’s how you can start using pronouns others choose for themselves

Using the right pronouns can go a long way in acknowledging a person's identity and accepting them for who they are.

Here’s how you can start using pronouns others choose for themselves
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 16: Speakers deliver remarks in front of the Stonewall Inn on July 16, 2020 in New York City.(Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

She, he, they, ze, her, him, them, zir. Pronouns are a part of our everyday language and are often used to denote the gender identity of a person. While many of us may not be aware of it, using the wrong pronouns can be damaging and traumatic to people. As actress Laverne Cox once said, "Misgendering a trans person is an act of violence." Using the right pronouns can go a long way in acknowledging a person's identity and in many cases, alleviating gender dysphoria. Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey, Alabama state director for the Human Rights Campaign, spoke about the importance of using the right pronouns. "Using the correct pronouns not only shows that we recognize others for who they are, but it’s also a sign of respect and courtesy," said Anderson-Harvey, Alabama state director for the Human Rights Campaign, reported Good Morning America.



"When someone is misgendered, meaning when another person uses incorrect pronouns or descriptors to refer to them, we’ve found that it can be upsetting, invalidating, hurtful and even a cause of harm," said Anderson-Harvey, who's a trans woman of color. March 31 is recognized as the Transgender Day of Visibility, and it's an important time to acknowledge the importance of using the right pronouns. "As more and more transgender and non-binary people are coming out and living authentically. Conversations around pronouns are becoming more commonplace," said Anderson-Harvey. Transgender Day of Visibility is a day dedicated to honor and empower the lives of transgender and nonbinary people. The International Pronouns Day is celebrated on the third Wednesday of October and seeks to make "respecting, sharing and educating about personal pronouns commonplace."



Anderson-Harvey said it's not okay to assume that you know a person’s pronouns. If you're unsure about anyone's pronouns it's best to ask them, said Anderson-Harvey. "Normalize politely asking someone what are your pronouns or what pronouns do you use, that way you'll know the best and most respectful way to refer to them." It's also a way of accepting a person's identity. "We always believe each person is the expert on their own identity," said Anderson-Harvey. She also said it was important to note that pronouns don't always correspond to someone's gender identity. "Someone who is non-binary, meaning a person who identifies outside of the gender binary or who does not identify exclusively as a man or as a woman may use gender-neutral pronouns like they/them or may use she/her or he/him pronouns. They may also use a combination of these or other pronouns such as ze and zir.


She also urged everyone to integrate inclusive language, such as including them in your email signature and when you introduce yourself to others. Sharing pronouns in your email signature is one easy way to be an ally to the trans and non-binary community. Sometimes I also include my pronouns when I introduce myself," said Anderson-Harvey.



America recognizes International Transgender Day of Visibility
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden issued the first presidential proclamation recognizing International Transgender Day of Visibility. He hailed the activism of transgender and nonbinary people through the years during his proclamation. “Their trailblazing work has given countless transgender individuals the bravery to live openly and authentically,” wrote Biden, reported NBC News. “This hard-fought progress is also shaping an increasingly accepting world in which peers at school, teammates and coaches on the playing field, colleagues at work, and allies in every corner of society are standing in support and solidarity with the transgender community.”



He also acknowledged the violence perpetrated against the community. “The crisis of violence against transgender women, especially transgender women of color, is a stain on our Nation’s conscience,” said Biden. In the last year alone, 44 transgender people were killed in the United States, with 23 of them being Black trans women. “To more fully protect the civil rights of transgender Americans, we must pass the Equality Act and provide long-overdue Federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Biden. “It will serve as a lasting legacy to the bravery and fortitude of the LGBTQ+ movement.”

If you're trans and are being subjected to abuse, or need any help, please reach out to TRANS LIFELINE at 877-330-6366.
If you're queer and are being subjected to abuse, or need any help, please contact LGBT National Hotline at 1-888-843-4564

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