The Importance Of Asking & Practicing People's Pronouns
In every workshop, webinar, or call I facilitate or teach, it's important for me to have everyone state what pronouns they use during introductions.
Why is this important?
Asking people's pronouns acknowledges our understanding that gender is not binary, and that someone may use a pronoun that is different from what we may assume.
It gets us thinking differently. Thinking beyond the gender binary.
It gets us in this habit of acknowledging that gender is fluid and there are many different ways people identify.
It gets us actually embodying the changes we want to see in the world. Especially around acceptance and respect.
And affirming possibilities.
The pronouns I use for myself are she AND they, and I use them both in my personal bios, which you will see in my About page. When someone uses more than one pronoun choice, like in my case, it’s best to practice using BOTH she AND they when referring to them.
It can be a bit challenging to train our brains to use different pronouns, especially when we perceive people a different way, but we CAN actually train our brain.
A lot of unlearning old, oppressive, binary language is a practice and it's one that requires conscious action.
When we mess up, we apologize and keep practicing.
We keep training our brain to ask about people's pronouns and to listen to what they tell us and to refer to them that way.
We make the conscious choice to do this.
When we bring our consciousness to pronouns, we bring our consciousness to gender.
The more we do it, the easier it gets and becomes second nature.
Getting in the habit of stating our own pronouns and asking others theirs gets us embodying possibilities beyond the gender binary.
It's a practice of creating something new and different in our lives and in society.
If you're a teacher/facilitator, ask your students to state what pronouns they use and model the same.
If you're a coach or consultant, ask your clients what pronouns they use and be clear about yours too. (I ask this of my clients in a short questionnaire form they fill out when they book a session with me)
If you're an employer, CEO, Boss, ask your employees and assistants what pronouns they use in the job application form. Ask them again in the interviews and when you hire them. Write it next to their name in your system.
If you're a podcaster, ask your guests what pronouns they use and be conscious to refer to them with the pronouns they tell you. Make sure you use their pronouns in your social media promotions of your episodes.
If your students, participants, clients, audience, employees or guests are confused on why you're having them state their pronouns, let them know in a few sentences why this is important. Feel free to use some of my words in this post.
Feel free to share this post with anyone who needs further understanding, and with anyone you think could benefit from this awareness.
It's always great to give your "why" when implementing something new so folks can have a greater understanding, which will further their awareness and inspire them to practice more too.
What pronouns do you use?
Note: You may choose to use multiple pronouns, any pronouns, or no pronouns at all. You may not care at all about what pronouns people use for you, and that's okay too.
Want some extra guidance on how to be more gender aware and integrate this awareness into your work and everyday life?
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