My first experience with pronouns was intimidating and overwhelming. Growing up I never thought much about the way I addressed people and how people would like to be addressed. However, my experience at Cal has taught me a few things about how to better navigate pronouns in a respectful and considerate manner.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned throughout my time here:
Ask the necessary questions
Something that helped me understand how to navigate using pronouns was asking questions of people who were knowledgeable about the subject. Talking to people about how misgendering, or addressing someone by pronouns with which they don’t identify, makes them feel can help prevent us from making that mistake in the future.
address people correctly even when they’re not around
Although it may seem harmless if someone uses the wrong pronouns to talk about another person when they aren’t there, it’s important to address them correctly at all times to ensure that we are being respectful and considerate.
Don’t be afraid to apologize
If you accidentally misgender someone, the best thing you can do is apologize. It may seem awkward but it will set your intentions straight and will help do better in the future.
I hope these tips help you just as much as they helped me as I began navigating my way through college and building relationships near and dear to my heart.