What’s the Big Deal about Pronouns? By Christina Ng

At the start of Greenhills’s new remote learning program, students saw some of their teachers adding their pronouns in their display name, and students were encouraged to do the same in an effort to avoid gender assumptions. However, for some of the student body, this led to snarky comments and a buzz of confusion to the sudden importance of pronouns.

What many cis-gendered (identitifiying with the gender that corresponds to your birth sex) people don’t grasp is how much this small clarification can help members of the trans and non binary communities. There’s another big, even dangerous consequence caused by cis-gender people not revealing their pronouns.

Before recent years, sharing pronouns was not at all a common practice for the average person. Audiences that engaged in this were trangender and nonbinary individuals. They would do this as a request for friends, family, and the public to respect their identity. However, pronouns came with danger alongside it. It was an easy indicator for average people to recognize a transgender or nonbinary person. Pronouns, although being a precious part to one’s identity, put non-cisgender people in danger.

According to the CDC, over 50% of the transgender population face domestic violence in relationships, 47% have been sexually assaulted, and one in ten have been physically abused. The death by murder rates of transgender individuals have been increasing every year. In the first 7 months of 2020, the death rate has already surpassed last year’s rate. Black and latino trans individuals were the most common to be attacked, especially black and latina trans women.

These are devastating numbers that unfortunately keep rising, and the transgender and non-binary population needs help. There are many ways to help, and services could extend all the way to the government. However, the easiest, first step to helping them from being exposed to threats is to share your pronouns. If the majority of the population shares their pronouns regularly–on your social media, profile, introductions–, then transgender and non-binary people feel comfortable sharing their pronouns without it being used against them. This method promotes inclusivity, and, most importantly, it saves lives.

Trans people experience violence at rates far greater than the average person. Over a majority (54%) of trans people have experienced some form of intimate partner violence, 47% have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime and nearly one in ten were physically assaulted in between 2014 and 2015.

At least 28 transgender people have been murdered, or their death is suspicious, so far this year compared to 26 last year. According to data collected by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 23 of the victims were transgender women, four were transgender men and one was non-binary. The epidemic of violence is particularly pronounced for Black and Latina trans women.