Some individuals feel that gendered pronouns like “he” or “she” don’t reflect who they are. Because they want to choose pronouns that more accurately reflect their experience, many people choose to use alternative gender pronouns. Making gender more inclusive is an important step to supporting the mental health of transgender and non-binary people.
If you’re new to understanding gender pronouns, but you think it’s time to learn, Ascend can help. Explore our overview of gendered and non-binary pronouns today.
What Are Gender Pronouns?
To understand gender pronouns and what makes them important, you must understand the medical and clinical difference between sex and gender. While sex refers to physical characteristics of what makes someone a male or a female, gender has more to do with social constructs.
Historically, our culture has had a very narrow view of gender identity, including only male and female. This type of thinking excludes those who might identify as a different gender from their sex as assigned at birth, as well as those individuals who do not identify with any gender at all, or with multiple genders.
Common Gender Pronouns
In addition to the traditional “he” and “she” pronouns, you may meet people who are transgender, nonbinary, or gender-neutral. Cisgender and transgender people typically choose to be identified with one of the two binary gender pronouns, while non-binary and gender neutral people have a whole spectrum of alternatives.
Some gender neutral and non-binary pronouns you may encounter include:
Using these pronouns correctly can seem challenging at first. Some people worry about understanding which gender pronouns to use, using the wrong pronouns, or even mispronouncing these pronouns. However, taking the effort to ask someone about their preferred pronouns or apologizing if you use the wrong pronouns are simple, meaningful steps to take. You might also consider introducing yourself with your own pronouns to help others in your life feel comfortable sharing theirs.
The Importance of Understanding Gender Pronouns
Not everyone has a gender identity that falls along binary male and female lines. When gender options are more inclusive, people who identify as agender, pangender, genderqueer, and genderfluid feel more comfortable expressing themselves. Conversely, when people feel excluded or unsupported, they may struggle with their gender identity and develop gender dysphoria, along with depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. Some even turn to substance use or self-harm in an attempt to cope with their emotions.
Respecting gender pronouns shows teens that are exploring their identity that they don’t need to conform to binary gender norms. By respecting gender pronouns, we create a more compassionate, inclusive, and caring society for individuals who feel like they don’t fit into the traditional gender system. Instead of dismissiveness and discrimination, understanding someone’s gender pronouns and respecting their self-identity mitigates trauma and bullying in favor of a more accepting world.
LGBTQ+ Youth Support Programs at Ascend
Teens who are part of the LGBTQ+ community might find themselves in an unhealthy place due to a lack of acceptance among their peers, family, or community. Our team has experience working with members of the LGBTQ+ community and we strive to affirm teens as they navigate concerns about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
If you’re concerned about yourself, your teen, or your family, Ascend is here to offer you the support you need, helping you understand gender pronouns, sexual preferences, and more in a safe space. Learn more about our California teen treatment programs when you reach out to us at 310.388.3713 or fill out our contact form online.