Elevate Ultimate | Pronoun Reflections
Much of our Pride 2021 discussion has been centered on the proper use of pronouns as a way to be more inclusive.
When we first launched the Pronouns collection back in February, we reached out to community partners to hear their reflections on why proper pronoun use matters.
Elevate Ultimate, a VC partner who is always willing to amplify inclusive education, introduced us to four of their coaches who shared their reflections on pronoun use.
Monica Devonshire (She/They)
Coaching kids is one of my greatest passions in life, I love having the ability to have a positive impact and to help my students become better humans. I have been amazed at how great all my athletes have been at asking for pronouns. Sometimes it can feel a bit uncomfortable at the start of camp but over time it becomes as easy as asking for a name. It is the worst feeling in the world getting misgendered or misgendering someone and this can be easily eliminated by just asking!
I have found that if all my campers introduce themselves at the start of the camp with their pronouns it makes a safe and comfortable atmosphere for the rest of the days we have together. When we all ask for pronouns it helps queer folks to feel validated and seen and not feel like an “other” or outsider.
For myself I feel a sense of relief when someone asks me for my pronouns instead of just assuming based on my appearance. In a university Ultimate setting I have found that when I introduce myself with my pronouns it has opened the doors for some amazing conversations with my teammates. I have had teammates come up to me and ask for ways that they can respect my pronouns and identity. It is so important to educate the youth on pronouns because this is the future generation.
When we normalize asking for pronouns in youth settings we open the doors to change and development of a better future for all.
Jazz Groden-Gilchrist (He/Him)
In 2014 I read Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh and it fundamentally changed how I understood identity. In short, it is an essay where McIntosh acknowledges “daily effects of white privilege”, normalcies that people of colour often don’t have. This made me question the normalcies I took for granted with privileges I have such as being cis and male.
Gender binary is an illusion that many cis people dangerously and incorrectly perceive as reality. It is the duty of people with privilege to use that power to normalize practices that can make spaces safe and equitable for everyone. Educating ourselves, using people’s correct gender pronouns, and putting forward our own, are all essential to creating accessible environments.
Avery Outerbridge (She/Her)
Pronouns are so important for everybody and using them correctly can really make someone happy. Getting used to somebody’s new/proper pronouns can be difficult at first; however, as long as you are trying that’s what counts.
I asked a few of my friends how they feel when someone uses their incorrect pronouns and this is what they said: “It feels disrespectful, it’s more important about what they say after.” “I start to feel angry. I kind of feel like I don’t feel cared about.” During 2020 and COVID I think that society has come to see the importance of pronouns and accepting people no matter their race, sexuality, gender or religion.
Ask about a person's pronouns when you meet them. It can be scary to come out and say it.
Sahab Ansary (He/Him)
When people first started asking me for my pronouns, I started to wonder why it was important. I quickly learned about how something as simple as asking for someone's pronoun can foster an environment where people can be who they are.
As a cisgender male I never experienced the distress of being called by my incorrect pronoun. I want to be able to use my privilege to create an environment where people can be comfortable.
When I coach I always try to create an environment where everyone can be comfortable with who they are. I want them to show up to each lesson confident that they are welcomed and accepted for their identity. Inclusion starts with asking “what are your pronouns”.