Home Opinions Using correct pronouns is the actual least you can do 

Using correct pronouns is the actual least you can do 

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The “bathroom bill,” is a law requiring transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals to use bathrooms corresponding with their birth sex. This piece of legislation passed in North Carolina in 2016 but was repealed in 2017 after several companies refused to expand into the state if the legislature moved forward on such a bill.

The bill was thus partially repealed to remove provisions regulating individuals’ bathroom use, but left neither side happy. It includes elements that specifically discriminate against the transgender community.

This particular legislation is part of a long and usually unmentioned history of explicit discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming communities. Only in recent memory has that responsibility become apparent to cisgender individuals—those who fit into normative standards of gender identity.

Despite the reality of physical, mental, sexual and emotional violence transgender people face every day, the vast majority of cisgender people will only ever be tasked with the most limited and palatable portion of this experience: gender-inclusive pronouns.

Gender pronouns are what we as a society use to address each other according to how we fit into the spectrum of gender identity. For most, this is limited to the binary of masculine or feminine pronouns, he/him/his or she/her/hers, but for those who do not fit into this false dichotomy alternative pronouns are used, most notably they/them/theirs.

Before I go on, it is important to point out I identify as a cisgender male and the concepts of gender fluidity and inclusive pronouns are something I have learned recently. It is important to recognize the learning process was difficult, and took a lot of internal processing and being corrected on something I had previously thought was cut and dry. I did not understand and sometimes wanted to push back at the idea of being called out on something new to me.

From my perspective, using gender-inclusive pronouns was a matter of semantics and didn’t matter in the larger scheme of things, as long as I wasn’t a bad or judgmental person.

Eventually, I realized it is okay to not understand and sometimes be wrong because it ultimately had nothing to do with me.

Gender-inclusive pronouns are not something you use when describing a situation or getting someone’s attention—they are an indicator of respect and reflect whether or not you pose a serious potential threat to someone’s safety.

It is okay to be confused and occasionally corrected while making an active effort to understand people. Learning someone’s preferred pronouns is considered respectful and comes at no risk to the asker.

However, there is a huge, statistically verifiable risk for trans people who have taken steps to identify and present their truth to a wider audience, even just in passing.

According to a survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, “ninety percent (90%) of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job… 19% reported having been refused a home or apartment… fifty-three percent (53%) of respondents reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation… 57% experienced significant family rejection…”

Taking time to recognize someone’s safety and livelihood deserve more attention than momentary discomfort is not only a decent human thing to do, but the bare minimum someone facing a world of difficulties could ever ask of you. Frankly, you should take it upon yourself to do more.

-Tafari Robertson is a public relations senior

 

 

 

4 COMMENTS

      • See, you call me a coward, I openly admit Im an a**hole. Because in today’s world of everyone being soooo sensitive and whiny about everything, I’d rather be the a-hole. Nobody is going to change for me, and just like all of you freaks who cannot just figure out that NOBODY actually cares what you call yourself. YOU are the ones who feel the need to shove it in people’s faces, YOU are the ones who feel the need to make a big deal out of something minimal, YOU are the ones who crave so much attention that you couldn’t/didn’t get from mommy and daddy that you now feel the need to project your childlike discomfort on the world to fix the hurt.

        Don’t call me a coward. I am more than willing to bet you are the “strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man” until any little thing happens or someone raises up against you. Then you are the whiny child who calls the police, claims assault/rape/whatever, then sits smugly thinking you won a victory when in reality you did exactly what a child does.

        You and people like you are the reason that all of these movements are a joke. The sheer expectation that everyone has to change for you blatantly demonstrates that you yourselves are not capable of solving problems for yourselves. Then the insanely juvenile ways that you “protest” against literally anything amounts to little more than children throwing a temper tantrum. You all want your 5 seconds of fame? Cool. Do something worthwhile. Standing on a stage and stomping your feet and yelling about the same crap everyone else is yelling about is a joke. Just like your movement.

        You want to come find me Laura, fine, But something tells me that just like EVERY other ignorant college kid, you probably walk around avoiding eye contact, music playing, face glued to your cell phone completely ignorant of the fact that there is a world outside of what your instructors tell you.

  1. Honestly if you do not know whether you are a man or a woman… that is YOUR problem… not mine.
    Men and women are biologically built differently, granted the actual differences in what each can accomplish are minimal and should not change their equal importance.
    But the FACT is… men are naturally built stronger than women, and women are weaker.

    Men have penises, and women have vaginas.
    (except in cases where accidents have occurred such as getting it cut off, or deformities during gestation leading to intersex individuals… but a rare occurance)

    The whole transtrender cult is hilarious how they try to justify “themselves”
    you are not a woman because you like pink and wear a dress… all that is culture… you are still a man who likes pink and wears a dress (and there is nothing wrong with it)

    What is wrong, is denying science, denying facts. You just look ignorant.

    Now parents are so eager to have a transtrender kid so they can look fashionable and openminded… once that kid grows up, they will hate their parents or probably overdose because they have been lied to and allowed to act a fool, made even worse if their parents shoved the wrong hormones into them ruining their natural body chemistry.. or if they got their body mutilated beyond repair… good luck!

    Instead of lying and encouraging these confused individuals that biology is wrong, maybe address their underlying problem and why they can not understand that they are a boy who likes pink or a girl who likes trucks and explain that all that is just cultural roles that do not really mean anything.
    It is no different than someone liking apples over oranges. or how some people prefer skinny jeans and some prefer cargo shorts.

    Denying the facts of who and what you are are just silly! You can not change your sex no more than you can change your race or species (yes, transtrenders are no different from the people who think they are dogs)
    you are simply nothing more than wearing makeup and a costume to parade around as something else.

    Of course, doctors have caught on and are loving it… now there is another thing that will bring in customers and more revenue for their offices… so of course they will bring you in, the more complications due to your apparent ‘transition’ the more money they receive.

    If you are a boy in a dress or a woman with short hair just accept that, accept who you are… you are only making yourself sicker by lying to yourself.

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