Gender pronouns are part of cultural vocabularyBy Megan Robinson
She, her, hers. He, him, his. These pronouns are used daily to refer to the people around us, but they might not always be accurate.
Multicultural Programs hosted The Pronouns Project on Wednesday to educate students, faculty, and staff about nonbinary gender categories and to raise awareness of misgendering in honor of the Trans Day of Remembrance
“Essentially, our main point is to just start the conversation around pronouns and gender pronouns in particular,” Lana Hinds, USC Columbia alumna and Campus Activities Board graduate advisor, said. “I think that it’s important that we’re starting to get out of the gender binary of ‘he, him, his’ and ‘she, her, hers’, and just start understanding that there are more pronouns than that.”
Hinds is personally tied to this project after she encountered for the first time a person who discussed her preferred gender pronouns when she announced her name. “I started thinking to myself, why is that so weird? Why don’t we just ask people what their pronouns are, or make it readily available, as easily as we do our names? I think that’s what really inspired me to link up with Doug Peters (Assistant Director of Student Life) and do something like this,” Hinds said.
Along with raising awareness, the point of the event was to encourage people to respect the significance of proper pronoun usage. Students and faculty could create buttons with their preferred pronouns, or write them on a white board and post it to social media with hashtag, #ThePronounsProject.
The featured speaker, a transgender woman, also conveyed this message.
Although pronoun awareness still has room to grow, young people, including Upstate students, are becoming increasingly more aware of its importance. “It’s just common courtesy to be sensitive to how other people feel,” student Nikki Gamble said.
There aren’t just two ways to identify gender, and the goal of The Pronouns Project is to encourage people to be less willing to assume, and be more willing to accept.
“We should care [about gender pronouns] because we don’t want to make gender assumptions. You know what they say about assumptions,” student Kennedy Herndon said.
The Pronouns Project is dedicated to promoting the policy that differences are to be respected, not rejected.
“I think diversity is very important, and I believe everybody should be equal, and that whatever pronoun that you do go by, people should respect that, and you should be called that,” student Tasia Wilder said.
Multicultural Programs and students like Gamble, Herndon and Wilder believe in supporting a society in which differences don’t divide people.