Bay Area LGBTQ+ community talks importance of gender identity terminology

"Pronouns give us context on how we'd like to refer to each other, an act of mutual respect."

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Friday, June 25, 2021
Pride and pronouns: Importance of gender identity terminology
Members of the Bay Area's LGBTQ+ community talks about the importance of gender identity terminology.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Members of the Bay Area's LGBTQ+ community discuss the importance of gender identity terminology.

"My name is Juniper Yun, my pronouns are she/they."

"My name is Joe Hawkins, my pronouns are he/him/his."

"My name is Sam Carmel, my pronouns are they/them."

These are three voices talking about personal pronouns we are use everyday, when referencing someone or making introductions.

Juniper Yen with San Francisco's Trangender District says, getting it right matters.

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"Pronouns give us context on how we'd like to refer to each other, an act of mutual respect," said Yun.

Yen and others believe language is changing and so are gender identity terms, like pronouns. A movement which began with the transgender community.

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"For so long we've only known two types of pronouns on how we refer to people," said Jupiter Paraza from San Francisco Transgender District.

A survey by the Trevor Project found that 1 in 4 LGBTQ youth now use pronouns other than he/him and she/her. Instead choosing non-binary pronouns like they/them.

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"I know it's hard for some people to wrap their heads around what they/them means," said Sam Carmel from Oakland's LGBTQ Community Center.

Carmel has heard the pushback on a pronoun which seems plural. They hope people can take time to learn.

"When people use my pronouns correctly with respect, I feel I can be free to be myself," said Carmel.

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"Just respect people on how they want to be identified, it's not that difficult to show respect," said Oakland LGBTQ Community Center CEO, Joe Hawkins.

In Virginia this week, two people were arrested at a school board meeting where officials were discussing a new policy that would allow transgender students to use names and pronouns they prefer.

"I'm aware it's going to take time to apply new pronouns," said Paraza.

But there is movement, singer Demi Lovato told fans on twitter she's identifying as non binary, changing pronouns to they/them.

Instagram is now using a pronoun feature for accounts.

"Well, I see that as a win," said Paraza.