In this day and age people who identify as transgender, bisexual, gay, and lesbian are nowhere near as unheard of or controversial as they were years ago. But what about people who are genderqueer or gender fluid? For those of you who are not a hundred percent sure what that means, let me explain: People who identify as gender-queer do not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both or a combination of male and female genders. In basic terms, these are people who do not identify as either male or female. People who are gender fluid also do not identify themselves as one gender.
You may be asking yourself why this article was even written, but I recently noticed that on a very popular T.V. show that you may have heard called Good Trouble, brought this idea to light. One of the main characters, who is lesbian, is in a relationship with another female who no longer wishes to be called her/she — now “she” wants to be called they/them because they no longer identify as male or female. Although this may only seem to be occurring on mainstream T.V. shows, it is a little more close to home for me. A person I went to high school with actually recently changed their pronouns as well.
Now you may be asking all sorts of questions about this and may have never heard of people changing their pronouns to they/them — well I am here to shed some light on the subject. So when someone looks male or female, that does not identify who they are. To people who are non-binary, they don’t feel as if they look male or female. They believe they look like themselves, and who is to tell them otherwise? People may question how using the pronouns they, them, and their works for only one person. Well, if you think about it, we do that all the time when a person’s gender is not identified. Here’s an example: “Oh, look! Someone dropped their wallet. I’ll turn it into the lost and found for them.” See not as hard as you may think. But slip-ups with this are okay, people who go by them/they/their will understand that if you mess up it is not to be mean or cruel it is because it will be hard calling someone you have always known by something else. In the case that your friend says they are okay with being called him/her, they are lying to make you more comfortable when in fact you should be trying to help them become more comfortable with who they truly are.
When it comes to people you know changing their pronouns, sure it might be weird for you but think about them. They are finally comfortable with who they are and trust the people around them enough to make a life decision like this. So do not make it harder on them by asking questions or acting like it’s an inconvenience for you. Rather support your friend in becoming who they are.