International Pronouns Day

International Pronouns Day occurs on the third Wednesday of October each year, and in 2020 is scheduled for Wednesday, October 21, 2020. #Slowchathealth is proud to endorse International Pronouns Day and encourages you to acknowledge and discuss the importance of personal pronouns with your students, co-workers and peers.

International Pronouns Day seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity, but many transgender and gender nonconforming people are regularly called by the wrong pronouns, which causes erasure and marginalization.

“We must continue to critique anti-Blackness and policing. We must recognize how physical violence is buttressed by cultural violence. Transgender folks, especially Black people and those perceived to be feminine, have been at particular risk because of the compounding factors of anti-Blackness and misogyny, added on to transphobia. And transphobia itself is part of a larger racist and colonialist project,” said Shige Sakurai (they), the campaign’s founder.

According to Sakurai, “We need to recognize how colonial languages such as English, Spanish, and French have been foisted upon millions and erased or marginalized numerous traditional languages and identities, many of which included gender-neutral pronouns or terms describing diverse genders beyond a cisgender binary. To counter marginalization, we must reclaim and create space within all languages for the empowerment of all people.”

As actress Laverne Cox wrote in 2018: “Misgendering a trans person is an act of violence… I am referring to cultural and structural violence. The police misgendering and deadnaming trans murder victims as a matter of policy feels like a really good example of that cultural and structural violence.”

Last year, the campaign’s hashtag, #PronounsDay, became the #1 globally trending hashtag on Twitter, and has previously had mentions or coverage from Sam Smith, Entertainment Weekly, George Takei, CNN, Penguin Random House, Dictionary.com, ACLU, the Oxford English Dictionary, Asia Kate Dillon, UN Women, and Kamala Harris.

To recognize International Pronouns Day, participants will conduct outreach, host educational events, post online using the #PronounsDay hashtag, work to create supportive institutional policies and practices, and create awareness in their workplaces, campuses, and communities.

Slowchathealth has featured blog posts on this topic in the past and is proud to support the work of those seeking to increase awareness of the importance of talking about, and respecting personal pronouns.

As today’s health class shakes off its dated past it is more important than ever that all students see themselves catered for, and represented in our curriculum. One way to ensure inclusivity is to ensure that we recognize the importance of personal pronouns.

The event’s website (https://www.pronounsday.org) includes ideas and tools for participating, answers to common questions, and a registration form for individuals and endorsing organizations.

“As groups conduct meetings online during the pandemic, there are more ways we can easily support people by using the right pronouns and avoiding assumptions. One simple way to break the cycle of assumptions is to include pronouns in our email signature, and to put pronouns after our display name when we go into video meetings. Organizational leaders can really set the tone by sending out instructions on how to do this. Inclusion doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require that people take the steps to engage and learn,” said Crystal Huff (they), co-chair of International Pronouns Day’s Executive Board.

As a reminder, future International Pronouns Day events will take place on the third Wednesday in October. That means that the next official dates will be:

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
Wednesday, October 16, 2024

Other highly recommended #slowchathealth blog posts include:

Pronouns: Getting Personal by Andy Milne.

Life-Affirming for All, Life -Saving for Some by Gender Spectrum.

Give Students Language by Nicole Collins.

Some hashtags to follow: #GenderInclusive, #PubertyEducation, #ForAllKids, #HealthEd, #HealthEducation, #PubertyEd, #SexEducation, #SexEd, #PhysEd, #Nonbinary, #WontBeErased, #LGBT, #LGB, #trans, #transgender, #transyouthmatter, #queer, #genderexpansive, #genderqueer

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