*This information has been adapted from Women Against Abuse. Thank you WAA!
Relational violence impacts people of all genders, and we seek to create an environment where trans and gender non-conforming clients, staff, supporters and partners feel comfortable and respected. We can all begin to address the needs of trans/gender non-conforming individuals in our work in practical and simple ways, including properly using the person’s gendered pronouns and/or preferred name.
What are pronouns?
- A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun. Often, it refers to the person speaking (I or you).
- Gender pronouns specifically refer to people that you are talking about (he, her, they, or ze).
- Personal gender pronouns (or PGP) are the pronouns that a person uses for themselves.
Why are pronouns important?
- You can’t always know someone’s PGP simply by looking at them.
- Correctly using someone’s PGP is one of the easiest ways to show respect for their gender identity.
- Not having to worry about someone using the wrong pronoun when referring to you is a privilege.
- Disrespecting a person’s gender identity by using incorrect pronouns is not only hurtful; it is also oppressive.
- In order to cultivate an environment of inclusion at Women Against Abuse and in our communities, we must work to ensure transgender and gender nonconforming individuals are recognized and respected.
How do I make sure I am respecting someone’s gender identity?
- Ask! Ask everyone! Asking is always better than assuming a person’s gender pronoun. “Hi, my name is Kate. My pronouns are ‘she’ and ‘her.’ How about you?”
- If you make a mistake, correct yourself. Ignoring your mistake can be hurtful and even harmful.
- If someone else makes a mistake, correct them. That’s social responsibility at its best!