Since our adolescence, we tend to hear teasing and whispers about getting married to the opposite sex from our family and peers. But, as rightly questioned in the movie Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan, what if Jack doesn’t want to go up the hill with Jill?
Our cultural habits don’t let us question these customs because it may be a devious way to accept the LGBTQIA+ community. This is where homophobia comes into play, because what is ‘new’ for our heteronormative society is not acceptable, and so fear takes birth from the ashes of the road less travelled.
We all were taught grammar in school, but what our lessons failed to mention were gender-neutral pronouns. Some people use pronouns that aren’t associated with one of the binary genders (male or female), because those people are nonbinary. We are ll aware of the personal pronouns “he”, “she”, “it”, and “they”, which we generally use in our daily vocabulary. But what is not known to the general public are neo pronouns like “ze”, “zir”, “hir” and others that do not conform to the binary.
Pronouns are infinite, just like the periodic table that we studied in Chemistry. Everyone has the right to be governed and called by the pronoun of their choosing. If gender is a fluid concept, let us share the knowledge about gender-neutral pronouns too.
The concept of sexual orientation is often confused with the term ‘gender identity’. Sexual orientation simply means what gender we are attracted to, and gender identity is the gender we find belonging in. The change we need to bring is in our mindset to ask people what personal pronoun they use for themselves, rather than simply categorise them as ‘male’ or ‘female’ on the basis of their looks. This is because the very act of making an assumption can sometimes send a potentially harmful and disturbing message.
In order to take a step forward, one can simply ask “Hi, I’m Apoorva, and I go by the ‘she’ pronoun. How should I refer to you?” or, if giving an introduction, one can go by saying, “Welcome. Before we begin, we’d like to go around and share our names and personal pronouns.” Another way is to simply include the pronouns in the signature line of your email, or your Instagram bio, or in brackets when writing your name
Our society will be more open and accepting if we make cisgender people aware of these ideas, and clear the myths about homophobia and transphobia. After all, rights are not something you get for free, one must always have the spirit to fight for the same.
Note: The article was originally published here.