Titled: “Pronouns ain’t what they used to be: A TRANSGENERATION grammar primer”
The two-party system of pronouns is outdated, as there are a range of people whose gender stories are more complex. Finding self-descriptive language that feels right can be a tricky process, and one that only the individual can determine best. Some transgender folks identify as male or female, though it’s the opposite gender of the one assigned at birth. Genderqueers don’t subscribe to the idea of only two genders and may feel more comfortable somewhere in between. Bigenders identify as male and female and some First Nations folks embody both feminine and masculine spirits. Agenders identify as no gender at all. Luckily, there are more neutral personal pronoun options now, including they/their, ze/hir, ey/eir and the newborn, Swedish ‘hen’ . Recognition of diverse gender identities has a long history around the world, and neutral pronouns are language’s way of catching up.
So, where does this leave you? When you’re mingling at a party, heading up a meeting, or in school, just be mindful of the potential for multiple genders in the room. If you’re unsure of someone’s preferred pronouns, don’t be afraid to ASK. Once you learn them, use them every time, like you would for anyone else. Not being that person can be as simple as that.
Want to learn more? Check out:
- Melissa Harris-Perry hosts an awesome show on MSNBC. Watch her recent episode on being transgender in America.
- Queer women of color talk gender, during Episode 2 of the phenomenal web series The Peculiar Kind.
- This interactive map lets you learn the names, history and culture of different gender identities around the world.
- Transgender People of Color Coalition work together to address issues that impact trans men and women of color. Get involved!
- Genderfork is an amazing online, volunteer run community for people across the gender spectrum to connect. Here you’ll find photos, words of encouragement and opportunities to make friends.
- BLITZ is a comprehensive nationwide resource guide and online community for all people under the transgender umbrella and their allies.
(image via The Corner Window)
Published by The Sundance Channel: SUNfiltered blog, 5/8/12