Please Use Preferred Pronouns

Kahleia Corpuz, Editor-in-Chief

You’re scrolling through TikTok, and find a creator you enjoy watching. You go onto their profile and notice their bio says, ‘she/her.’ You think to yourself, well they presented as very feminine, so I don’t understand why they would need to put their pronouns in their biographies.

While this line of reasoning is common, may I direct you to the actual reason that that particular creator may have put their pronouns in their biography? It is an active move to help normalize pronouns.

Well, why do we need to normalize pronouns you may ask? It is because the people who identify as genderqueer, a person who does not identify with their birth-assigned gender, would put their pronouns in their biographies to not get misgendered. However, this small piece of text has led to these individuals being targeted or attacked because putting their pronouns in their biographies has become an indicator for transphobic and homophobic people to attack that person.

Not only is that horrifying, but it is absolutely discriminatory. Even if you think this doesn’t impact you because you are a cisgender individual, or someone who identifies with their birth-assigned gender, think about your friends, family members, or other people who get attacked for what gender they are.

There are three things you can do to help normalize the use of pronouns. The first thing you can do is to educate yourself about genders beyond the regular two gendered binary. As mentioned before, there are people who identify as nonbinary who usually use they/them pronouns, but they are not limited to those pronouns. There are also neopronouns, such as xe, ze, and ey, which many individuals may use instead of he/she/they pronouns. With the rise of the internet, any information you want to learn more about can be found in a simple Google search. Use it.

The second thing you can do is start putting your pronouns in your social media, school accounts, and wherever you have the option to insert something about yourself. Obviously if you are not out yet, or closeted, as a certain gender, please do your best to stay safe. However, if it is safe for you to do so, please put your pronouns, especially if you are cisgender. Zoom and Canvas allows users to put pronouns next to their names. Instagram, Tik Tok, and other social media platforms give you the option to describe yourself in biographies. When you’re looking for your next amazing bio, think about using your 140 characters to protect others.

The last thing you could do, and honestly, the first thing you should do when you meet anyone, is to ask for and respect their pronouns. If someone tells you to use they/them pronouns when referring to them, don’t ridicule them by using binary pronouns like she/her or by calling them “it.” It’s disrespectful, and it can make a person feel invalidated. Remember the golden rule from kindergarten: treat others the way you want to be treated.

Look, in a world where gender stereotypes are enforced from the moment when one exits the womb, it is going to be hard for some people to get used to it. Sometimes, even when you’re trying, you’re going to mess up. No one is faulting you for messing up as long as you correct yourself afterward. If someone tells you that you are wrong or are misinformed, be open to hearing what they have to say.

Elliot Page, an actor known for playing Vanya in Umbrella Academy, came out as transgender as of last week, and the day he came out, all the major news websites and even IMDB replaced his deadname, or name an individual no longer uses, along with their proper pronouns that day of. If they can do it, you can too.

To anyone struggling with their gender identity or feeling invalidated by others, remember, you are valid, you are loved, and you are supported.