Why do pronouns matter?
Often, people make assumptions about the gender of another person based on the person’s appearance, mannerisms or name.
This presents two problems.
- Firstly,the assumption can be incorrect and as a result, someone is 'misgendered'.
- Secondly, and perhaps most importantly,making an assumption in the first place enforces the notion that a person must look or act in a certain way in order to be a particular gender.
In the same way that it would be offensive to make up a random name for someone and call them that nickname against their will, it can be offensive to guess at someone's pronouns and use the incorrectly assumed pronouns when that isn't how the person wants to be known.
Worse still, actively ignoring a person's chosen pronouns is an act of oppression and entrenches the idea that intersex, transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people do not (or should not) exist.
"But I know XYZ's gender is ABC - they don't need to tell me or remind me"
Appearing or naturally 'acting' in a way that aligns with characteristics that the bulk of people might associate with your gender (or pronouns) is a privilege. It makes your life easier, since it isn't necessary to correct other people's assumptions about your gender or pronouns.
The trouble is, by simply going about your life, you are unwittingly entrenching the very process of making assumptions around gender identity.
Sharing your pronouns is an act of disruption to the privilege of assumption and a way of showing solidarity with the trans, nonbinary and gender nonconorming population.