Talking A Bit About International Pronoun Day

Talking A Bit About International Pronoun Day October 17, 2018

Today is the inaugural celebration of International Pronoun Day. International Pronoun Day is a brand new celebration dedicated to as one might guess encouraging people to make the sharing of personal pronouns commonplace. It’s a perfectly nice celebration that should in no way be controversial, yet there are plenty of people who for reasons that escape me not only don’t want to participate but also feel entitled to let people know they won’t be celebrating and want to mock people who don’t conform to their particular standards of acceptable identity. I personally feel like encouraging people to respect pronouns is one small and easy way to push society to become more respectful.

Gender and pronouns come in a lot of different forms. Much like the people in this article. Image credit: Pixabay.
Gender and pronouns come in a lot of different forms. Much like the people in this article.
Image credit: Pixabay.

Pronouns and respect:

I don’t understand the mentality that leads people to not only refuse to participate in events like International Pronoun Day but also disrespect people who are excited at the thought of such days and who could very well need such celebrations and cultural shifts to feel safe and to feel comfortable in their own skin. This isn’t about forcing people to participate in something they don’t believe in, but rather about encouraging people to treat other viewpoints and ideas with respect. If you don’t want to participate in this that’d be one thing but I’ve seen people online go after people who do want to celebrate this and that to me doesn’t make sense. And if you want to see examples of this, just go over to the Facebook page for the American Humanist Association and read some of the comments on their post acknowledging this genuinely positive event. Or read some of the responses to this incredibly inoffensive tweet.

People should be encouraged to do things that allow them to feel more comfortable in their own skin without being subjected to insults and being dehumanized by people who don’t “agree” with them. Respecting someone’s pronouns and respecting an aspect of their personal identity is not something that should be controversial and it isn’t difficult. By asking people who don’t conform to the gender binary to pretend they do we’re not only disrespecting them but we’re also asking them to lie to themselves for our sakes. By asking or worse demanding that people who are trans identify as the gender their parents or society assigned to them at birth we’re disrespecting them and refusing to acknowledge their own agency and reality. That’s not okay.

I respect people. I respect the agency they have over their own lives and I am not arrogant enough to demand that someone identify the way I tell them too. I never fail to be shocked by other people’s arrogance and smugness.

Closing thoughts on International Pronoun Day:

I’m sad that it’s necessary that this day exists in the first place. That being said I’m happy there are people out there who know the reception this day will never fail to receive but went about and organized it anyway. I’m happy to be seeing more celebrations dedicated to people who defy unnecessary and rigid definitions of gender and who boldly make moves to feel comfortable in their own skin no matter what form that takes. I like International Pronoun Day and I’ll happily celebrate it with people for whom this is a welcome and wonderful thing to celebrate.

If this isn’t for you I have no issues with that. Just treat people with respect and don’t ask that people curtail their identity to your standards. If you don’t need this day, if it’s not for you that’s fine. I’m happy that for you it’s unnecessary. Not everyone is as lucky as you are and other people deserve to have days for themselves where they can celebrate themselves and feel happy in their skin. Don’t ask other people to stop that just because you don’t agree with it. If someone asked you to reject a part of your identity, especially aspects of your physical, or mental identity, would you? Many of us would struggle with that if we even could actually achieve it and it’s not fair to ask us to do that so we shouldn’t ask, expect, or try to restrict other people in this especially if they aren’t hurting us or anyone else and this day doesn’t hurt anyone. Just be kind and treat people with respect.

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