LIFESTYLEWhy my Pronouns are Important

So you met a they/them? Now what? First, let’s break down the popularly asked question: But how is they/them grammatically correct? The singular third person is how!  Bare with me:  “Who’s towel is this? I think they left it when we loaded the truck!” “Whoever they are, they left a crazy note on the window!” Now that we got that covered the BIG question that usually follows is why? Why are pronouns so important? Well,...
Flora Oliveira3 months ago1508 min
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So you met a they/them? Now what? First, let’s break down the popularly asked question: But how is they/them grammatically correct? The singular third person is how! 

Bare with me: 

“Who’s towel is this? I think they left it when we loaded the truck!”

“Whoever they are, they left a crazy note on the window!”

Now that we got that covered the BIG question that usually follows is why? Why are pronouns so important? Well, today I have three reasons to present to you! Lucky for you, I routed an educational walk down respect blvd, comfort central, and unlearning avenue. 

Respect 

  1. What is respect? How do we classify respecting someone? 

Is it by being kind? Is it allowing someone to first dibs at the goodie table? Is it allowing someone to be their most authentic self in your presence? I think respect is a bit of all three. Of course, I can respect you and disagree with you, but respect can only be given to a person you recognize. And how would you be able to recognize, let alone identify a person if you fragment them into pieces of who they aren’t?

If you cant see someone for their most authentic self then what are you seeing them as? 

What are you truly giving respect to? 

Are you only giving respect to your idea of who you think they should be? A fragmented perspective.

If you’re basing your use of pronouns on what you believe you are not recognizing the diversity of humans around you. Those humans deserve to be seen, acknowledged, and made comfortable. 

Isn’t that the form of respect you’d want to receive? Or would you settle for a form in which parts of you are belittled, ignored, or deemed unimportant? 

Comfort 

  1. Simply put, that respect gifts comfort. Think about it this way, every time someone mispronounces your name, forgets your title, misrepresent your work, your ears perk up a bit, don’t they? Sometimes you interject and correct and sometimes you sit in the awkward dilemma of whether to interrupt or allow the moment to pass. Now, think about it like this: Your boss, mother, best friends, all kept mispronouncing your name. Each time your skin feels tighter, you’re focused only on the future pronunciation of your name. You’re missing the conversation. Sweating a bit more each time. Gaging your rection and seeing if anyone notices. 
  2.  That’s discomfort. That’s what many of us feel every time you misgender us. No one likes that feeling. No one wants to go out of their way 24/7 to correct you. We just want to be content and comfortable in our own skin. 
  3. It’s really about caring for others. Granting comfort & respect should be a priority. This individualistic society may have taught you otherwise but why would you want to run around harming folks?


Unlearning

    1.  If you are making an effort to address that you’re un-learning the dominant societal paradigm that we have all been taught. Whether you grew up in a conservative home or a pro-Marxist commune, your unlearning is a step in the right direction. 
    2. Do you want to continue to let society dictate how you interact with the world? Do you want to walk your entire life thinking in binaries when the world is not all black and white?

Do you want to continue to let society dictate how you interact with the world? Do you want to walk your entire life thinking in binaries when the world is not all black and white?

Regardless of your bodily response to this article, I challenge you to sit with this for a while. Don’t let my voice be your only guide. Question your position and privilege as much as you question the world around you!

Flora Oliveira

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