Using Correct Names and Pronouns
| June 3, 2019
You may have noticed an increase in attention to a person’s pronouns and maybe there seems to be more types of pronouns used than you’re used to. This focus is an intentional way to try and make language more inclusive of all people.
Youth may not use the pronouns associated with their assigned gender or may wish to be called a name other than their legal name. They may choose to go by a pronoun that you are unfamiliar with such as ze/zir or per/pers. When interacting with anyone, but especially youth, it’s important to use the correct pronouns and name.
Calling a youth by the wrong name or pronouns can communicate dismissiveness and make them feel invalidated or alienated. In turn, using the correct name and pronouns shows that you are acknowledging and respecting the youth’s identity. It gives the youth space to be their true selves and demonstrates that you care and support them.
If you are unsure about a youth’s pronouns or name they wish to be called, ask them. Start by introducing yourself and the pronouns you use to help make them feel comfortable sharing honestly and safely.
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