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We sometimes take pronouns for granted in our everyday speech. We see someone who appears male and we assume he is a “him.” When we see someone who appears female, we think of her as a “she.” Without information about the person, we make assumptions about their gender pronouns. If that person is transgender, we may not know how they identify and what they wish to be called. Using the person’s correct gender pronouns or even explaining to people how they want to be referred to as can be tricky because we still have a long way to go as a society when it comes to trans issues.
What is a correct gender pronoun?
A correct pronoun is how someone wishes to be referred to. For example, we generally think of females as “she” and males as “he.” In a binary society where gender consisted of two roles (male and female), this would work. But because gender means something different to everyone, using correct pronouns is the difference between offending someone and addressing them correctly. By not using someone’s correct pronouns, you are misgendering them.
What does misgendering mean?
Many people think that you only fully transition after having transgender cosmetic surgery. This is not the case. You are entitled to refer to yourself any way you want, whether you’ve had surgery or not. When someone uses the wrong pronoun, for instance, calling you “he” when you go by “they,” they are misgendering you. Furthermore, many cisgender people (those whose gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth) don’t realize that they’re misgendering by using the wrong pronouns to refer to someone. So, if someone does misgender you, remind them of how you want to be addressed.
What are the different pronouns that exist?
There are so many pronouns out there that it can be hard to keep track. You can always ask someone what their gender pronouns are, or the reversal would to be explain to who you are talking to what you want to be called and why it’s important. The chart below details a list of pronouns and how they can be used.
SUBJECT OBJECT POSSESSIVE POSSESSIVE PRONOUN REFLEXIVE PRONOUN (f)ae (f)aer (f)aer (f)aers (f)aerself e/ey em eir eirs eirself he him his his himself per per pers pers perself she her her hers herself they them their theirs themself ve ver vis vis verself xe xem xyr xyrs xemself ze/zie hir hir hirs hirself
“Ou” is also a gender pronoun that can be used if that’s how someone identifies. The important thing to remember if you are cisgender is that someone needn’t have gone through transgender cosmetic surgery to identify with a specific pronoun. You have a correct pronoun (“he” or “she”), and that means trans people do too.