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  • Writer's pictureThe Lavender Space

pronouns 101

Gender, while now considered a spectrum of belonging, was initially meant to be a bracket term for two sexes. Gender was the male and the female ends of a whole range that was buried underneath what we can only assume was ignorance and subconscious fear. In India, prior to British colonisation, Hindu texts described not two but three genders. The ‘Tritiya Prakriti’ was a gender associated with neither male nor female nature. Ancient texts described, and were tolerant of varying genders and gender expressions. It seems rather ironic now that these very texts are used to probe bigotry within the same communities as a result of the imposed colonial mindset of the time.

Genderqueer individuals range from non-binary, agender, genderfluid, gendervoid to simply queer and transgender. Gender has always been seen as a form of self expression, no matter which sex you were assigned at birth. The ratio of transgender deaths to cisgender deaths is almost four to one. This should awaken us to the fact that human beings, just like us, are being killed for simply identifying as a different gender than what they were assigned at birth. Gender expression and identity is something that is intimate to an individual- not a reason for intolerant, and borderline ignorant people to take their lives.

I have often found people that are ‘tolerant’ and ‘educated’ making fun of those that choose to adopt neo-pronouns. This is something that I haven’t quite wrapped my head around. It is gravely disconcerting that people who claim to not be homophobic, can poke fun at individuals only because they don’t participate in years of cis-heteronormative history and choose to adopt methods of dressing and addressing that best represent them as people. Neo-pronouns are ways in which people can express themselves better- they aren’t a new phenomenon. Neo pronouns like Xe/Xem/Xyr, Ey/Em/Eir and even widely accepted pronouns like they/them, somehow warrant homophobic and bigoted jokes.

Diversity and differences should serve as opportunities for us to educate ourselves, not as material for impromptu comedy sets at the expense of another person’s identity.

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