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4 tips to Gender inclusivity- Language matters!

The gender binary has been imposed on folks for generations, this term refers to the idea that the only genders are male or female and that these are directly correlated with the person's assigned sex. Gender fluidity, or living outside the gender binary, has been around much longer than most people think, but this has not been accurately represented in our culture. This means that some folx are outside of this illusionary gender binary and that there is more of a spectrum or constellation than an either-or option. People can identify as nonbinary, male, genderqueer, female, genderfluid, and any other gender-expansive identities.  

 

With the deconstruction of the gender binary, there are many things that we can do to become more gender inclusive. 

  1. Using correct pronouns: Pronouns are very important and using the correct ones is essential to being gender inclusive. To create an inclusive environment and normalize the use of pronouns, introduce yourself with pronouns, ask other people what their pronouns are, and if comfortable add them to your email signature and other places where you have your name posted. Some folks use pronouns such as She/They, They/Them, or They/He, etc. Make sure to use both and to avoid just using their name to "play it safe", using a person's pronouns is affirming and inclusive. 

  2. Never assume someone's gender. If you make a mistake, simply correct yourself and others and move on (don't create a big scene where folks have to comfort you in your mistake). Practice away from your friend or loved one! Write a story about your loved one using their correct pronouns, the more you normalize and practice it within your own time, the more likely you will avoid misgendering them which can cause tremendous harm to folks. Continued misgendering is a form of hostility and is a microaggression that can have a significantly negative impact. 

  3. Decrease gendered language: It is important to normalize all gender-inclusive language. This could be replacing "guys" with "Ya'll" or "ladies and gentlemen" with "folks" or "everyone". There are many substitutions, the key is to identify the gendered language and be creative on how you can use a more gender-inclusive word or phrase. By doing this you are affirming and including gender-diverse folks and deconstructing the binary! 

  4. Increase curiosity! Instead of assuming, be curious and ask. There is no one right way to be gender inclusive. Be sure to pay attention to the person not just being "right". Do your own research, unlearn, and relearn. Take accountability for your learning and be open to feedback. 


This is not the end all be all, the best thing you can do is continue to learn on your own, from folks around you, to ask your loved ones or friends and continually check in and create space for them to share any changes or feelings they have about this aspect of themselves. 

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