ICYMIM January 31: Proper Pronouns – why they change

Proper Pronouns – understand why respecting them matters and may change: We shared recently on Instagram that Kiddo has changed their name and pronouns to he/they. It’s not the first (and probably not the last) time they’ve changed since being with us, and I know that might be hard to process or understand for some. Given it’s not my identity, I can’t possibly understand either. The thing is, we don’t need to understand: we only need to respect it. Period. But I want to take the time to explain it in the best way I can.

Accepting Evolving Identity

A person’s pronouns (how they identify, or a proper pronoun for you to use with them) can change throughout knowing them, especially for kids and teens exploring their identity in so many different ways. Remember, it’s about THEM, not you. In some cases, identity is further complicated by deep-rooted generational trauma. If you grow up conditioned to hate your body, told negative things about it in both male and female form, experience trauma to your body, or experience transphobia and homophobia, getting to the root of who YOU are will take a lot of time and work.

See the full post about it here.

Don’t have to Understand to Respect Proper Pronouns

Identity is a complex topic, and not everyone may be able to articulate why their pronouns are what they are, just like you might innately know you are “she” despite having a few “commonly male” characteristics. For example, I am the alpha in my home, a traditionally male role by societal standards, but I do not identify as “he.”

As rate of depression, self harm, and suicide is directly linked to one’s identity being respected, it’s essential we never make anyone feel like a burden for having pronouns you’re struggling or unfamiliar with. They trust you with their authentic self, and the most important thing is to respect them. It’s okay not to get it right all the time. No one is perfect. The key is to self-correct and move on. If you do mess up, don’t push your guilt about it onto them by profusely apologizing.

When you do that, what you’re asking is for them to put aside their feelings about it and reassure you everything is okay.

Everyone wants to make laws for the safety and protection of children, but most fail to consider the safety and protection of trans kids. Consider this: if your trans daughter who presents entirely as female needs to use the restroom, which one is safer for her? Now imagine her being forced to use one she’s not comfortable in.

Read the statistics on the increased self-harm and suicide rates of trans children whose identity is not respected. Then read statistics of trans people attacking CIS people in bathrooms. One is real; one is not.

Trans kids need protecting.

Being a Better Ally

Many people do not personally know a trans or non-binary person, which leads to a lot of misconceptions and assumptions around the topic. The truth is you don’t need to understand to know and advocate for human rights, and there are many things you can do to be a better ally.

Speak up. When you read a book, hear a podcast, see a blog or social post, etc., share it! Include something you learned. If someone makes a claim you know for a fact is wrong, take a moment to educate them even if engaging might be uncomfortable.

Showing unconditional love, support, compassion, and acceptance regardless of how someone identifies is what matters and what I care about MOST is safety and well-being for all. If you are part of a persecuted, vulnerable population, you cannot have health. 

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