Normalize Using Correct Names and Pronouns
A person should be able to feel comfortable in their own skin, in their own body.
A school is supposed to be a safe space, a safe environment where their students should be able to express themselves freely and without shame.
Sophomore Jordan Ayala talks about how difficult it is to be who he is meant to be.
He mentions that he is aware that school is full of teenage boys and girls who don’t really care about getting someone’s pronouns right or trying to understand and grasp the concept of a transgender person, since it isn’t seen as “normal.” However, our speaker also mentions that not only do students invalidate him, but so do his teachers. “My teachers know that I am transgender but they never use the correct pronouns except for maybe one or two … I don’t ever correct them because I am so tired of doing that.” He continues to explain that he has corrected his teachers and substitutes before and they continue to misgender and deadname him. (A deadname is the name given at birth which is later changed because the person does not identify with that name.) An educator should not disregard these requests since they are supposed to be the role model for the other students. A student should never have to feel ashamed or uncomfortable in a classroom where it is supposed to be a “safe space.”
He also states, “It feels like I am in a cage and there is just no way out because they already see me a certain way and I can’t change the way they see me, I’m embarrassed to correct them and I know I shouldn’t be.” No person should ever feel that way just because they are trying to be themselves.
Many claim that pronouns aren’t important or “they’re not that serious,” but it is ignorant to say that when they have not been put into a position where they constantly have to hear a name that is not theirs, be referred to as a gender that is not theirs, and see and be in a body that is not theirs. It gets to the point where it is suffocating and insufferable. Also, hearing our speaker constantly saying “I hate being trans … I shouldn’t hate being trans, but I do,” just shows how important this situation really is and how badly it affects the minds of young people and young adults.
At such a young age most do not have money or the ability to get surgery, some do not get it at all, and that does not make them any less of the gender they identify as. It is not that hard to be an empathetic person. Making a person feel uncomfortable in their own skin can also lead to younger people being embarrassed about coming out themselves by seeing all of the obstacles that they would have to face, which is something they should not be ashamed of or worried about.
“I should be in charge of my own name,” he pleads.
STOP USING DEADNAMES!!!
There are many other problems that transgender people go through, they get hatecrimed, killed, beaten, etc. Getting their name right and their pronouns is the bare minimum. It is a human right. These toxic norms cause many health issues to arise within the community. For example, there is an increase in mental health issues, an increase in suicide rates, an increase in body dysmorphia, and others. It does not take that much effort to prevent these issues that could lead to something much much worse.
In case it wasn’t highlighted as much previously, pronouns are also equally important and many deserve to get their pronouns correctly. I heard an unknown junior say, “pronouns don’t really matter, it is not that serious, this generation is just so sensitive about it.” The fact that many seem to have this similar mindset is very sad and just shows no light for the future. A cis person, which is a person that identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth, will never know what it is like to be in the incorrect body and constantly have to hear people refer to them as a gender or use pronouns of a gender that they do not identify with and even though they might think “it’s not that serious” they do not have the knowledge to speak on a topic that they have not experienced and know nothing about.
Pronouns are very important especially to many members of the transgender community and to help that community feel safer it would be easier and would be helpful to correctly use a person’s pronouns and not question them or make them feel uncomfortable.
It doesn't take that much to be a decent person. Get their name right and get their pronouns right!