International Pronouns Day is observed each year on the third Wednesday of October to raise awareness about the value of using preferred pronouns for individuals, especially those who identify as non-binary. This day was first celebrated in 2018 to shed light on the human dignity factor associated with referring to people by the pronouns that they have determined for themselves, instead of making assumptions about how a person may identify.
This day also seeks to educate about personal pronouns and why they are important to a person’s identity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns can have a heightened negative effect on transgender and nonconforming individuals.
Stating pronouns has become a common practice in schools and businesses, with pronouns now being included in Zoom names, email bylines, social media bios and other public domains. Many people might find this practice unnecessary because they do not pay much mind to their own pronouns. But the process of implementing such practices is out of respect and recognition for people who identify differently than society might expect them to.
By making use of an individual’s desired personal pronouns commonplace, we can make society more welcoming to people with multiple or intersecting identities.
To celebrate this day, the Rainbow Center student staff took over the Rainbow Center’s Instagram live to answer commonly asked questions about pronouns. Many people might be confused about what pronouns are, how to go about asking someone their pronouns and other sensitive topics. However, it is important to ask these questions and have conversations about personal pronouns to ensure that you identify others in a respectful way.
Roselyn Terrazos-Moreno, a seventh-semester physiology and neurobiology major and a student staff worker at the Rainbow Center, was in charge of taking over the Rainbow Center’s Instagram and allowed people to ask anonymous questions pertaining to pronouns. The goal was to allow the University of Connecticut community to become more educated on pronouns prior to International Pronouns Day, which will be taking place next week.
Many interesting questions were asked that focused on why referring to someone by their correct pronouns is important, how to respectfully ask for someone else’s pronouns and whether or not it is weird to share your own pronouns.
“It’s actually encouraged to share your pronouns … because this begins to normalize sharing and asking for pronouns instead of assuming pronouns and possibly misgendering someone,” Terrazos-Moreno said.”
“Using the right pronouns is a matter of basic human respect and creates an inclusive environment. When we use the incorrect pronouns we may cause a person to feel unwelcome, unsafe or invisible.”
The use of preferred personal pronouns is an important step in creating a more inclusive society. Words hold a lot of power and the ones that we choose to utilize when referring to other people holds significant importance to a person’s identity.
“Using the right pronouns is a matter of basic human respect and creates an inclusive environment,” Terrazos-Moreno said. “When we use the incorrect pronouns we may cause a person to feel unwelcome, unsafe or invisible.”
With International Pronouns Day taking place next week, it is a great time to become more educated on the use of pronouns and how using an individual’s preferred personal pronouns creates a safe space for all members of society.
The Rainbow Center is doing important work to make the UConn community more equitable for all students. If you would like to learn more, visit the Rainbow Center website.