When we use pronouns, we are often making an assumption about another person’s gender identity based on how we perceive them.
But a significant number of Americans don’t identify as cis-gender men or women, so we can’t use the usual “he” or “she” when we talk about them.
Being misgendered — in part, through the use of incorrect pronouns — negatively impacts the mental and physical health of trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people, increases the stigma they face in healthcare settings, and makes them feel invalidated.
The negative effects of misgendering are so extreme that purposefully using the incorrect pronouns to refer to an individual is considered misconduct in a court of law in the U.S.
There is a widespread movement amongst both TGNC and cis-gender allies to normalize pronoun sharing. That way, the onus doesn’t always fall on already marginalized people to announce themselves.
Not all nonbinary people use they/them pronouns and not all people who use they/them pronouns identify as nonbinary.
And also, some people use a combination of pronouns — like she/they — and they may prefer for them to be used fluidly or randomly.
The Male/Female binary has never existed. We’ve just been limited by what we could see. Modern science has expanded our field of vision and when you consider all the possible combinations of chromosomes, hormones, and anatomy? There are at least 29 different genders.
Psychologist Stefani Goerlich
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