Proper use of gender identity terms, including pronouns, is a crucial way to signal courtesy and acceptance. When it comes to gender pronouns, forget what you were taught in school. Most textbooks teach pronouns limited to the gender binary. To help you get it right ✔️, popular dating app, Tinder, recently unveiled its Let’s Talk Gender guide and glossary in consultation with Gaysi Family and other members from the community which is a quick guide to learning more about gender identities and being respectful while using pronouns.
Now we know a person’s name and pronoun are at the ❤️ of their identity, and while the new generation is up-to-date with this, a lot of us need to actively unlearn our old habits. It is 2022, and it's about time we become inclusive in the way we address people. This becomes even more important while dating and meeting new people. As this generation would put it, “Get with the times, sweetie!💁♂️”.
Subhadip, a queer Tinder members adds,” Pronouns definitely have gained popularity from being a chapter in English grammar to becoming a full-fledged identity marker in our society. It's great to see society grow out of its binary contraindications and accept the unknown. My pronouns are He/Him, I am Bisexual, I am 22 - all this information is like pieces of a puzzle that make me who I am. So yes, it is very important to acknowledge identity.”
Dating can sometimes be overwhelming, and a bit daunting. What definitely doesn’t help is assuming pronouns of a potential date. Here are some tips 📝 straight from members of the community to help you use pronouns in acknowledging someone's gender identity.
Ask, and you shall receive
Yes! It is as simple as that. Before addressing your date based on how they may look and act, just ask them for their preferred pronouns and then take it from there. You can begin by introducing yourself and then mention your preferred pronouns. Just say, “My name is ABC, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. What do you prefer being referred to as? And voila!
“I strongly feel that knowing one's pronouns and making an effort to keep addressing them with the correct pronouns is not only making you aware and conscious of your surroundings but validating them and don't we all want validation?” Says Lydia, a Tinder member.
To err is to be human…just remember to own up to them!
🙊Uh oh, so you messed up! You made a mistake and ended up calling your date by the wrong pronoun. It is fine. Don’t panic and definitely don’t make a huge scene out of it. You’ll just embarrass yourself and your date. Just apologize, call them by their right pronoun and move on. Simple!
“Make an effort before starting a conversation, ask the questions so that you respect and make the other feel comfortable. I know we all make mistakes, but it doesn't take much time to stop and correct yourself. And I know for a fact when you do that the appreciation you get feels nice,” signs off Lydia.
‘They’ can be your key to be inclusive
Once you’ve established how you both wish to be identified, you move on to other conversations. Here too, be mindful of not assuming the pronouns of other people. While referring to others, whose pronouns you aren’t sure of, use ‘they/them.” It is respectful and most importantly, gender neutral.
“One of the biggest hiccups to people embracing they/them as a gender-neutral pronoun in English is that they think it's used in a plural sense only. But that is not true - throughout literary history, they/them has been used to refer to someone whose identity is not known well to the speaker. Use they/them pronouns nevertheless, so you can be respectful of the person - that's more important than your grammar, in my opinion.” adds Tejaswi Subramanian, Digital Editor, Gaysi Family.
Respect their choice
A person’s name and their pronouns are an important part of their identity. How they identify themselves is their choice, you might and need not agree with it. However, respect their choice and use whatever pronoun they ask you to. Do not ❌ let your opinions get in the way of humanity and compassion.
Tejaswi weighs in, “Respect their choice, but also, if this person is important to you in your life, go the extra mile and do the labor of understanding their discomfort with the imposition of the gender binary and its stereotypes. This is also a deeper emotional engagement with the person that involves making space for their emotions - whether you understand it or not, it must be acknowledged without judgment.”
Change is the only constant
Always remember that the preferred pronouns of a person are their identity at that moment in time. They may change in the future, or they may not. Just do not hold them hostage to their past pronouns!
As Tanishka, another Tinder member says, “People might think pronouns and gender identity depend on sexual orientation and their preference in sexual partners but it's more about how it makes them feel when denoted certainly. Also, it's not the most important thing in the world to figure out and label yourself in a category as fast as you can. Take your time, or maybe don't - no rush.”
We are still moving slowly towards normalizing pronouns outside of the binary. The first step is easy, just call people by whatever pronoun they ask you to! Learn more at Let’sTalkGender.in, a guide and glossary by Tinder, encouraging conversations about ways in which individuals identify and express their gender.