Correct pronoun usage shows respect, defines personal identity

by | Nov 20, 2019 | Life, News, North

Kyshia Osei, Arts Reporter

They are simple characteristics that are almost never given a second thought although they play a significant part in how people choose to identify themselves.

Pronouns define how the world perceives one’s identity.

“Before I started using they/ them, I would go somewhere and others would just say, ‘is he going to’ whatever, whatever. People just assumed,” said Riddhi Patel, a Hum- ber Photography student, whose pronouns are they/them.

Rid Patel is their own superhero sporting the Pride flag at the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre after Coming Out Day. (Kyshia Osei)

Patel recently spoke freely during a group discussion among their peers in Humber’s LGBTQ+ Resource Centre on proper pronoun usage, discussing issues like when people mess up their genders and the growing change in acknowledgment surrounding the challenge.

Being misgendered is usually a small matter of apologizing and moving on, but some members of the LGBTQ+ community have found the issue to be uncomfortable and at times offensive.

members, who were at the meeting explained how being misgendered can quickly become awkward when the person they’re speaking with becomes overly apologetic.

“A lot of people just assume right? Especially for us, whenever we go out people just assume. It would be best if they didn’t,” they said.

“Now I don’t take it personally, so it’s okay. But someone else might, and they might get really offended by it. So just try to be safe,” Patel said.

Members of Humber’s LGBTQ+ community also expressed parental concerns, and how the overall shock of coming out can hinder a parent’s ability to accept their child, or from addressing them correctly.

The conversation boiled down to helping educate parents on proper pronoun usage.

The floor opened for discussion on things like National Coming Out Day and International Pronouns Day that happened this past October.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the LGBTQ+ community has been able to fully share in the luxury of coming out. This concern was ex-

Other LGBTQ+ community pressed for future generations.

Patel comes from a very strict Indian household, where even the thought of coming out was an impossibility.

“With National Coming Out Day, what I would point out is that not everybody has had the liberty to experience coming out. I haven’t. Not to my parents at least,” they said.

Though on campus they and many others enjoy the rights and privileges that Humber’s LGBTQ+ resource centre has to offer.

Patel has a younger sister they shared their sexuality and gender identity with. They did so in hopes of reassuring her that if she were to ever need to come out some day, she could do so confidently, and safely, to them