Beginner's Guide to Gender Identity

He, She, They, Gender Spectrum, do words like these intimidate you? Do you know someone who prefers to use certain pronouns and you want to learn more about them?

Just to help you through the process of incorporating gender neutral terms and preferred pronouns in your everyday life, here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Gender Identity!

Gender Identity can be simply defined as a person’s innermost concept of one’s gender as male, female, a mix of both, or neither! Contrary to popular belief, there are (obviously) more than just two genders. There’s a whole spectrum! These are some of the commonly heard terms when talking about gender identity,

Cisgender: Someone who identifies with the gender assigned to them at birth. 

Transgender: Someone who does not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. Commonly known as trans, it’s an umbrella term which can pan across the spectrum. 

Non-binary: Someone who does not exclusively identify with any gender. Commonly known as genderqueer and enby, it falls under the umbrella term Trans.

Genderfluid: Someone who’s gender identity fluctuates across the spectrum, hence the term 'fluid'

These are just some of the terms used to describe gender identities, to learn more talk to someone who might identify as being on the spectrum or just go on the internet!

Coming to pronouns, why and how they play an important role in a individual's self concept.

 Pronouns are words that take the place of a noun in a sentence. When referring to a person, these pronouns literally substitute the verbal identity of a person. Since cisgender pronouns like He/him, she/her are very commonly used, it’s understandable why someone would have a hard time using gender neutral terms, but it’s a very thoughtful way to show that you respect a person. 

If you know someone you prefers to use gender neutral pronouns, here are some ways you can make it easier for them.

1. Ask them! 

The easiest (and the best) way to know how someone would like to be known, is to ask them about what pronouns they prefer and what their gender identity is.

2. Respect them.

Try not to misgender them often, and NEVER use the wrong pronouns on purpose or to poke fun at them. 

3. Normalise the use of pronouns. 

The easiest way to do this is by introducing yourself with your pronouns as well or by putting them on your social media. As cisgender people, it’s our responsibility to normalise 'taboo' topics like these

 

With this, we’ve come to an end of a Beginner’s Guide to Gender Identity. We hope you’ve gained confidence to use pronouns and gender neutral terms with ease! 

Remember, when in doubt just ask and be respectful!