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Pronouns are assumed and taken for granted. Most people may not even have to worry about this as they may identify with the gender they have been assigned at birth. But you come to realise how important pronouns are when you meet someone who doesn’t identify with their assigned gender. So, here’s a cis-person’s guide to pronouns:

Why do pronouns matter?

Pronouns are an important part of our identities. They are the basics on how we want to be referred to.
It is important to normalise pronouns to create safe spaces.
We need to stop assuming someone’s gender and instead create the habit of politely asking them for their gender identity. It’s okay to make mistakes unintentionally but it’s important to unlearn and grow from these mistakes.
It is important to share your pronouns even if you identify with the gender you were assigned and you pass as that gender. This is to create an allyship to those who don’t and ensure that it is the norm and doesn’t make them stand out and normalises for them.

Here are some ways to be a better ally: 

  • Stop assuming pronouns, instead ask the person what their pronouns are
  • Add your pronouns on social media, emails, signatures and when you are introducing yourself
  • Normalise asking for pronouns. Check out this amazing guide for the same
  • Sometimes a person may identify with more than one pronoun, ask them which one they prefer. Example: I may go with the pronouns “She/Her and “They/Them”, but I may prefer going by They/Them so always ask
  • Always use a person’s pronouns and don’t call them by their old pronouns. Example: If a person previously identified with She/her but now identify with He/Him, respect that and use the correct pronouns
  • Including your pronouns makes the space inclusive and accepting

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