Pronouns are more crucial than you think


Lily Zimmerman

Identifying people as he, she, him, or her may seem natural and to many it is, however, there has been a shift in thinking the last few years and a more public movement for the recognition of gender nonconformity. 

It’s safe to say a lot of people question why the correct use of pronouns is important and even being considered. To them you are born either male or female, therefore, your pronouns are determined at birth. Unfortunately, this custom of assigning gender at birth is limiting some people’s ability to understand their true identity and ever feel whole.

Respect for a more inclusive society is gaining ground and with more access to support and LGBTQ+ community programs, more people are willing to overcome their fears and publicly state and/or change their pronoun identity. Although recognizing gender fluency is becoming standard practice for some, it is more often met with confusion, ignorance, and in some cases violence. These constant stressors and discrimination increase mental health issues for those who desire to match their pronouns with how they feel about and view themselves. 

Pronouns are part of someone’s identity and it can be disrespectful to not use them. This can also make people feel undervalued or hurt. In an article on,  Zil Goldstein, FNP-BC, associate medical director for Transgender and Gender Nonbinary (TGNB) Health at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York is quoted explaining how it feels to be misgendered daily and clearly depicts how damaging it can be on someone’s mental health.  “When I’m explaining it to people, I like to say it’s like being slapped on the cheek. If it happens once or twice, it stings for a moment. But then, you feel better,” explained Goldstein. “But if you’re getting slapped multiple times a day from multiple people—sometimes with random people coming up to you on the street and slapping you in the face—it’s going to get more painful and more upsetting as time goes on.”

To avoid causing your family and friends anxiety, remember to ask their pronouns instead of assuming.