Last Updated: October 5th, 2021 @ 4:04 PM
Why do pronouns matter?
Pronouns are one of the ways that we identify and connect with the world. They follow us throughout our lives and are extremely personal. Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, whereas it is offensive or harassing to make assumptions based on the person’s appearance or name and refer to them using those pronouns. Moreover, actively choosing to ignore the pronouns someone has stated that they go by, sends the oppressive and potentially harmful notion that intersex, transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming and gender queer people do not or should not exist. Being misgendered could happen myriad of times each day and it creates deep trauma by repeatedly invalidating one’s identity.
In Jameson v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120130992, 2013 WL 2368729 (May 21, 2013) the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that intentional misuse of the employee's new name and pronoun may cause harm to the employee, and may constitute sex based discrimination and/or harassment: “…supervisors and coworkers should use the name and pronoun of the gender that the employee identifies with in employee records and in communications with and about the employee.2 Intentional misuse of the employee's new name and pronoun may cause harm to the employee, and may constitute sex based discrimination and/or harassment. “.