Lately, some social networks like LinkedIn or Instagram have been incorporating a ‘pronouns’ field into user profiles. This is so cool because it gives us all an opportunity to understand that we shouldn’t be assuming anyone’s gender/pronouns based on their looks. Even if it’s a cisgender individual, because, how would you know they’re cis?
I wanted to create a blog post to talk a bit more about how I feel and why I decided to change my pronouns from she/her to she/they. It’s ok if this is the first time hearing about this. I won’t judge :) but I ask you to please be respectful with all you’re about to read and keep an open mind. If at any point you feel uncomfortable or angry, you can just stop reading and disregard it. My goal is not to change anyone’s opinion, I just want to provide more information to those who are curious and/or want to learn more about this topic. (And writing about my feelings is kind of therapeutic for me.)
Before I start
There may be some things you may or may not be familiar with, but they’re important to understand the rest of the post. I’m not gonna cover everything, but I can give some basic information and links to other resources!
That image pretty much covers it, LOL. In other words:
Gender expression: how I look or act
Gender identity: how I feel or self-identify as (woman, man, non-binary, etc.)
At the start of this post I mentioned the term “cisgender.” This is when a person’s gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a person that was born a male and still identifies as a man for the rest of his life.
I had always felt like a cisgender woman. I was born a female (sex) and had felt like a girl/woman (gender identity) for most of my life. Even though sometimes I dressed “as a boy,” (gender expression) I still felt like a girl (gender identity). Everyone always referred to me as a ‘she’ and I never felt weird about it, even when I was dressed like a boy. (Sometimes people misgendered me and called me ‘he’ because I “looked like a boy,” but that’s a story for another day 😄)
So why did I change my pronouns from she/her to she/they?
It’s not common in Mexico (born and raised there) to find anyone that’s not cis (of course there are people! But your life can be harder if you’re anything other than hetero and cis, so people decide not to disclose that information so easily). I never met anyone whose gender identity was non-binary, for example. I think this is a big reason why I never actually thought about my gender identity before, or why I never doubted I was anything but a woman.
When I started living in Canada, I began to see a much bigger queer community with a rainbow 😉 of gender identities (some that I didn’t even know existed!). I was initially SO confused with it all. I didn’t even know the pronouns ‘they/them’ meant anything else than just plural pronouns. It’s now been 3+ years of me researching, listening, reading, and understanding this topic; and some more months of me questioning my gender identity.
So this is the deal: I had always felt like a woman before and I’ve never felt like a man (yes, even though I did/do like to dress more masculine sometimes and I don’t usually dress feminine).
I sometimes am at a restaurant and forget which washroom am I supposed to go to (men’s or women’s?).
I sometimes feel uncomfortable when going to a clothing store and the people direct me to the women’s section - I like “men’s” clothes too! Have you seen their jeans? They have POCKETS. Also - I don’t usually like clothes that are unnecessarily short or tight (not judging! Just not what I feel comfortable in).
I hate it when people assign me gender roles just for being a woman. Although gender roles are a whole longer talk, lol.
I sometimes feel weird when people call me ‘she’ in person, especially outside of work. But the thing is that I don’t always feel that way.
I sometimes feel pressured for having to fit a standard when self-identifying as a woman. Sometimes I feel better just by imagining I don’t have a specific gender.
There are more reasons why, but I think these are the most important ones (or the ones I wanted to mention).
How do I expect to be called, then?
I don’t mind if people at work/professional settings call me ‘she’. I do feel like a woman almost all the time I’m at work. Even if I didn’t feel like a woman on a specific day, I wouldn’t mind people calling me ‘she’ :)
But if people decided to call me ‘they’, that’d be rad 🤙
Some people’s pronouns are ‘they/she’ and I think that means they prefer to be called ‘they’ over ‘she’ but both are ok (I might be wrong). Mine are ‘she/they’ because most of the time I prefer ‘she’ but I wouldn’t mind if someone slipped a ‘they’ 😁
If you’re ever unsure (not just with me, but with anyone), then just ask! I mean, I’m telling you right now that either ‘she’ or ‘they’ are ok in my case. But it might not be the case with someone else. In that case, instead of assuming, it’s way better if you just ask what their preferred pronoun(s) is(are).
Just because someone “looks like a woman/man” to you, doesn’t mean that’s how they feel inside.
I hope you liked this post and I hope it was helpful! At least to understand my perspective and my preferences.
If you ever want to talk about this because you have some doubts yourself, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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Thank you for reading and understanding 💜