Pronouns on Pronouns
Take Home Messages and Nuggets
Learn how pronouns can be used as a way to introduce yourself
Learn why pronouns are important for a person's identity
Pronouns are a thing, so let's get with the times for real
Why on earth am I talking about pronouns? This isn't an English class right?
Our world is forever changing and I personally want to live a life where I learn something new everyday. Originally, I was supposed to have a theme for each week and I'm realizing that life really doesn't let you have a theme each week - every day, a different random part of life gets thrown at us and smacks us right in the face. So, I am going with the flow for the time being. But I promise I will focus on athletes again soon enough. It's June though and it's pride month!
Last summer, I took a course on Physical Therapy for the transgender and gender confirming population. To say that this course changed my perspective on many aspects of my life is an understatement. Gender identity is extremely important to understand. While we might all not understand how someone feels and how they identify themselves, it is important to respect and understand how someone conveys and portrays themselves. So what are pronouns anyway?
Pronouns: a word that replaces a noun in a sentence. Pronouns are used to avoid repeating the same nouns over and over again. "Jeremy rode HIS bike down the road." How can a person respond when you ask them for their pronouns?
Response examples when asking for preferred pronouns:
She / her / hers
He / him / his
They / them / theirs
I learned about how asking a simple question about pronouns can be a game changer to how comfortable someone feels during a session. One of my patients once told me the following:
"You won’t always know what someone’s pronouns are by looking at them. When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated and dismissed. Asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns is one of the easiest ways to show your respect for their gender identity. If you happen to make a mistake, it’s better to at least acknowledge the mistake and move forward instead of just assuming."
These words have stuck with me because one simple question made this patient have trust in me right away. Here's what we need to know about pronouns:
You know what they say about assuming... let's not make an ass out of each other, okay?! Assuming someone's gender can mess with how they feel about their own identity. Not cool.
Share your own pronouns first:
"Hi my name is Alyssa and my pronouns are she / her / hers. What are yours?"
Sharing something about yourself first can automatically make someone feel more comfortable.
Or another simple way to ask is "What are your preferred pronouns?"
What if you make a mistake when asking?
Don't worry, it's ok to feel this way. But isn't it better to try to understand someone's position than to ignore it? Most of the time, people will be appreciative that you are caring to understand their gender identity.
Just some food for thought as we celebrate Pride month and continue to understand experiences of those around us. I will always advocate to help other learn and as I always say, all will always be welcome here. I recently wrote this in an Instagram post and I think it holds true to many things in life:
"Your children will become who you are; so be who you want them to be."
Staying grounded while keeping your foot on the gas pedal is extremely important - especially during these trying times. Find your drive to stay focused and keep your eyes on the long term goal. Injustices are real, they are scary and they unfortunately come in many forms. Stay safe and continue to learn and educate in any way you can.
Signing off for now.
With love always,