Hyderabad: If you’re active on social media, especially Instagram, chances are high you’ve seen ‘He/Him’, ‘She/Her’, ‘They/Their’ written in the bio. Ever wondered why the person put their pronoun there? It is part of their collective efforts towards highlighting the importance of using the right pronouns for gender non-binary people. A nonbinary person is someone who doesn’t conform to the gender binary of male or female and can also include transgender. July 14, is International Non-Binary People’s Day.
For trans people and gender non-binary people, using the right pronoun is a matter of great emotional concern, as Shane Mils, a transwoman from the city points out: “When people use the term ‘he’ to address me, I feel mocked. The other person might not know about it and that is why it is important for overall awareness to be created on the importance of using the right pronouns for the right identities. One can just ask a person about the pronoun they would prefer.”
Dr Charan Koganti, a city-based psychiatrist says, “It is extremely important to address an individual with their preferred pronoun as it makes one feel respected and validated. Gender dysphoria (a major disparity between the gender a person is assigned and the gender they associate with) already causes a lot of discomfort with their assigned gender and using the right pronoun ensures you respect someone’s identity.” He also adds, “Studies have shown that in transgender youth, using correct pronouns and names reduces depression and suicide risks.”
While people from the LGBTQ community and mental health professions are doing their part to spread awareness about the same, it is also important for the community’s allies to do their bit. Medha K, a youngster from the city who is known for running the platform Soapbox, highlighting various social issues, did exactly that a couple of weeks ago when she did a series on the importance of pronouns.
“We wanted to do an awareness campaign on the LGBTQ community and we felt bringing out the issue of pronouns is a good start. Pronouns are a part of someone’s identity and we take it for granted. We go by a person’s physical appearance and being misgendered (associated with a different gender) can make a person feel bad. After the first campaign, the response made sure I will continue doing it,” shares Medha.
What is gender nonbinary?
Gender non-binary is an umbrella term encompassing different gender identities that are neither male nor female. India is one of the few countries in the world that legally recognises nonbinary genders.