As our membership grows and diversifies it has become apparent that a discussion surrounding the use of appropriate pronouns for non-binary and transgender individuals is warranted. While change can sometimes be challenging, it is crucial that we adapt and embrace inclusivity to create a more accepting and understanding space for our instructors, members, and students.
Language has always played a significant role in shaping our understanding of one another and fostering a sense of respect and belonging. As we navigate the complexities of gender identity, it is essential to recognize that some individuals do not identify strictly as male or female. These individuals may identify as non-binary and/or transgender, meaning their gender identity exists outside of the traditional binary categories. Trans individuals experience a disconnect between their gender assigned at birth and their deeply felt sense of self. By using their chosen and communicated pronouns, we acknowledge and affirm their identity, fostering an environment of inclusivity and understanding.
It is understandable that adjusting to new pronouns can be challenging, particularly for those who have grown up with a different understanding of gender. However, I implore you to approach this matter with an open heart and willingness to learn. Remember that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. The important thing is to briefly apologize, correct yourself, and strive to do better in the future.
We would like to encourage members to share their pronouns with others in conversation so that we do not inadvertently misrecognize you, and so that we may practice and work together to create a more inclusive space. We also are asking you all to enact allyship through gentle pronouns correction on behalf of our 2SLGBTQ2SIA+ teachers, students, members, and staff.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Your willingness to embrace change and promote understanding is deeply appreciated. If you have any questions or would like additional resources on this topic, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Bill C-16 affirms and codifies our right to be referred to by our chosen pronouns and states that a repeated refusal to respect and use a person’s pronouns constitutes gender-based harassment and is a violation of an individual’s rights in Canada.
Did you know that William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Agatha Christie used they/them pronouns in the singular repeatedly throughout their work?
We use they/them pronouns often and naturally to refer to a single person often in our day to day lives. For example, if someone returned your lost wallet to you and you did not know the gender of the good Samaritan you might say something like “Woah, they didn’t take any of the cash, really good of them to go out of their way to return the wallet to me!”.
Practice makes perfect and it is not always easy, but we often put that work in when people in our lives evolve. For example, your child’s girlfriend becomes your daughter in law once they marry and you begin to refer to her as their wife. She has made a decision and her title changes accordingly, and we confer respect through specificity.