Welcome to the final post in the A-Z Challenge! I know I have not been perfect on posting these in the last week, but thank you for baring with me. I just had to get the last of these out on time and I can now say I have succeeded in the A-Z Challenge, and on top of that I have blogged 30 posts in April, one for each day (albeit not all posted on the correct day!) I am immensely proud of this and a massive thanks to everyone who has viewed my blog, commented, and taken part in discussions with me. I hope to keep you as regular followers and maybe even friends!
For my final post I want to talk about pronouns. I will be covering what they can mean to people, how they can affect them, and why they are so important to get right.
Most people use male or female pronouns. He/Him/His or She/Her/Hers. For a cis person they don’t tend to think much of it. It is a part of their lives, they will sit there and be referred to as the correct pronoun 99% of the time, and when that 1% hits it is laughed off and people think the person misgendering is mad, they can’t have gotten that wrong because it is so ‘obvious’. I hate that term. Obvious. Nobody’s gender is ‘obvious’. We may have conclusions found from the way they present themselves, but that doesn’t mean their presentation fits their gender identity.
When someone is trans and/or non-binary, often a large part of their lives are spent being misgendered. For binary trans people this is often until they begin to ‘pass’ as their true gender, at which point some people gain the privilege that comes with passing and get the same treatment as cis people.
However, for those who are outside of the binary, often they never gain that privilege. I remember a non-binary person once said to me (paraphrased), “I had to resign myself to knowing I won’t be correctly gendered in the street, until society changes their views, they aren’t going to think – oh there is a non-binary person,” and the thing is, although it is a sad fact, it is true.
Some examples of non-binary pronouns are they/them/theirs (singular, such as I have been using throughout this post), zie/zir/zirs, xe/xem/xyrs, ze/hir/hirs, and many more. For examples of how they are used visit this post here, where I spoke about it in brief.
Pronouns are a major part of our language and our culture. They are identifiers that exist so you know who is being spoken about. Not everyone has a preferred pronoun, a lot of people are happy with any, but for a large majority of people, there is a preferred one or more (or some which you do not like, and the others are fine). Personally I use they pronouns, with male pronouns being my second preference (though these are reserved more for family and work).
A lot of people who are cis struggle to see the importance of getting someone’s pronoun right. This is because for most people it is not something they have to think about, and it is not something they have experienced issues with on a regular basis.
When a lot of people try to imagine being trans or non-binary, they look at it from the point of view of what if I as a cis woman, wanted to be a man? Or some variation thereof. This is the wrong way to look at it. Rather, what if, as a cis woman, you woke up one morning and everyone was calling you a man? What if you woke up knowing you were a woman, but everyone called you he, you had a beard, your curves had gone, everything about you was wrong. Try and picture that, and tell me you would feel happy with ‘what you’ve got’.
Being misgendered sucks, it is a horrible feeling that I have spoken about before in my misgendering post two weeks ago. It is important to get someone’s pronouns right because if not, the affect on mental health can be astronomical.
All it takes is one question when you meet someone to stop yourself looking bad. One easy question.
“What pronouns do you prefer?”
It isn’t hard, it doesn’t take long. Just be polite and ask. Honestly it is more likely to set you in good standing with someone.
Thank you to everyone again for staying with me through the A-Z Challenge, I will be doing a review post on it all very soon, a run down of how I found taking part. Thank you to the organisers for arranging it, and you can bet your bottom dollar I will be back again next year! See you tomorrow for my first Ten Things of Thankful in May!