June is officially pride month, where we celebrate the multiple genders and sexual identities across the rainbow. Whether you identify as part of the LGBT+ community or as a cisgender ally, it’s still important to use the correct pronouns when addressing a person.
One reason for this is that it celebrates inclusivity. While we, as a society, are slowly accepting more progressive views, many people are still uncomfortable with identifying themselves the way they want to. To celebrate our differences as a united front, using the proper pronouns can make it easier for everyone to embrace their most authentic self.
Another reason is that it shows basic decency and respect for their rights as human individuals. Acknowledging their identity as part of the world instead of an outlier is one small way of bringing us closer together.
Last but not least, it helps leverage a more progressive society. Change is inevitable, so instead of fighting a way to keep the status quo, we should all accept that while things can be “good,” they could always be better.
Now that newer generations are coming into the picture, we can help safeguard the legacy of previous LGBT+ forefathers by creating a welcoming and more tolerant society.
Here are some tips you can do first before addressing a person with their preferred pronoun:
- Ask them their preferred pronoun. You should never assume that a masculine-presenting person would automatically go with “he” or “sir.” This same rule applies to feminine-presenting persons who may not be comfortable with “she” or “her.”
- Use gender-neutral words when addressing a crowd. Many speeches start with “ladies and gentlemen” or “boys and girls.” Nowadays, it’s much more inclusive to address the group as “my fellow attendees,” “my classmates,” etc.
- Apologize when you get it wrong. It can be hard to use the correct pronouns at first. Don’t give up. Apologize and start again. You’ll find it easier to address your loved ones without alienating them in time. Keep going!