5 Simple Ways You Can Be More Pronoun Conscious
You don’t need to be non-binary to make the world a more pronoun safe space.
The world is shifting from a cisgendered heteronormative past, to a more open equal future. But before anyone gets to celebrate, we have a lot of work that needs to be done to help many of our LGBTQIA+ siblings.
Keep in mind these 5 simple tips are not the end all be all, but they’re small changes we can actively make that can seriously pack a punch!
Here’s how you can be more pronoun conscious:
1. Work it into your introductions.
While you’re mentioning other useless crap during those awkward ice-breakers—like your zodiac sign or how many pets you have—make an effort to throw your pronouns into the mix. No I’m not suggesting this because I think your pronouns are useless, they’re not, but by including your pronouns in a conversation as simple as this, you’re normalizing the act of addressing pronouns as a whole.
“Hello, my name is Draco Rose. I’m a Slytherin. I go by She/Her. And a fun fact about me is I like pizza.”
See? It’s that simple.
You might be hesitant to do this if you identify with the pronouns given to you at birth, I know I was. But as weird or uncomfortable as it might be for you, imagine how difficult it can be for someone else.
Not all those who use pronouns different to, or in addition to, the ones given to them at birth are these shy and frail people many of us have come to imagine. Our job as cisgenderd individuals isn’t to hold these images and have a “do it for them” attitude. Part of normalizing pronouns is learning to not make them a big deal in the first place.
Our job is to make sure that whether they’re out or still figuring things out, they aren’t the ones always needing to take the first step.
2. Add you pronouns to your Instagram Bio.
So many social media outlets are doing their part to make stating your pronouns easier than ever, but like all things it was definitely an adjustment.
Before the update it was harder to figure out how to address people if they didn’t put their pronouns somewhere in their bio. The task was definitely more challenging when people, even if they were in the LGBTQIA+ community, neglected to mention them at all.
Now that instagram gives you an option to state your pronouns, in a space entirely independent of your bio, I highly recommend you use it! And while you're there, start building a habit to check on some of your old friends' profiles to make sure the pronouns you have in your head match the ones they identify with today.
The pronoun feature isn’t just great for pronouns, it’s also the easiest and quickest way to show others that you’re an ally to the community and that your page is a safe space.
3. Casually run your go to terms by people, your definition of gender neutral won’t always be someone else's.
This is one no one really ever thinks about but is worth mentioning. For me, terms like “Dude” and “Bro” are used constantly between my friends as gender neutral terms. My cisgendered female friend and I thrive off that “frat boy aesthetic”. However, just because I use these terms in a gender neutral manner, does not mean I can always use them as such when speaking to anyone else.
I’m not saying you can’t use go to terms like “Dude” or “Bro” ever again, but it’s important to be conscious of everyone’s preferences. There are people who wouldn’t take offense, just as there are many who may feel invalidated.
Figuring out what people are comfortable with and what they aren't doesn’t have to be some scary ass sit down conversation, just be super chill about it.
“Hey I know I use [x,y,z] alot and I just wanted to know how you felt about them? You’re not a fan? No problemo, I’ll come up with something else.”
4. If you fuck up, acknowledge it and correct yourself in the moment.
You feel like shit, you wish you didn’t do it, there’s no going back to erase it so do them—and yourself—a favor and just correct yourself in the moment.