I have noticed the increasing use of folks telling me their preferred gender pronouns.
I see it sometimes on Zoom meetings and as part of a signature block in emails. For example, it is often written as she/her or they/them/their. Recently I came across a one-pager from my city explaining all this. I thought I’d share the information in this Blog.
In brief, gender-specific pronouns are the ways we refer to each other in the third person. People who are transitioning in some way might choose to change their pronouns.
A group I hadn’t seen or heard before included ze/sie/zie/hir. With further Googling, I discovered there were 78 different gender pronouns. I will stick with the basics mainly because I’m at the only beginning of understanding the appropriate use of gender pronouns.
So here is an example of how newer forms of gender pronouns are used.
“I saw Betty come to work today, and they seemed really happy. I wonder if it has anything to do with their weekend. I hope to see them soon to hear all about it.”
To my ears, the sentences seemed wrong. What I think is they sounded unfamiliar—mental progress.
One of my guide rails in my life is that people should be respected – Period. The devil is in the details. It is easy to identify conundrums and petards to hoist high and end any further discussion.
I try not to get caught up in distractions but continue to work through the issue.
In this case, how a person wishes to be referred to is not something I want to decide for them – just as I accept people’s names, despite my difficulty with pronunciation.
Returning to the specific topic of gender-specific pronouns, it will be a challenge to become comfortable with this new way of referring to others.
I’m up to trying my best.
Please give a bit of a think. Look around and track how many times you see references to gender-specific pronouns in a week, particularly checkout news particles, signature blocks, and even conference name tags.
Now practice once in a while with using these pronouns in a sentence. Such as, I’m late for my coffee catch-up with my friend. I hope they’ll wait for me.
Here’s a tip. If you are unclear about how to reference a person, privately ask that person what pronoun to use. Most will be glad of the opportunity to inform you.
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think below.
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And my thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: for making this Blog possible.