What is gender identity and how do you learn and use someone’s pronouns in a conversation? In partnership with the Pride Centre of Edmonton, the team at Onlea created an animated primer about Gender Identity and Pronouns.
The video provides a brief explanation of the difference between sex and gender, defines the word cisgender, shares how to use someone’s pronouns correctly, and demonstrates what to do when you make a mistake.
Using the correct name and pronoun is about showing basic respect. If you’re not sure, you can just ask. A great way to ask someone’s pronoun when you first meet them is to say your name, state your pronouns, and then ask the person you’re meeting with what their name and pronouns are…
We all make mistakes though. If you slip up, apologize and try to avoid being defensive.
Related resources for educators and parents include Defining LGBTQ Words for Children from The Human Rights Campaign’s WelcomingSchools.org.
KQED Mindshift also shares What Teachers Can Do To Be More Inclusive Of LGBTQ Students. The article includes tips from A Queer Endeavor [.pdf], a University of Colorado Boulder School of Education initiative, to help teachers create LGBTQ-friendly classrooms, intervene in anti-LGBTQ bullying situations, be there for students who identify as gender-fluid, and properly address kids who use gender-neutral pronouns. A few ideas:
• Let students identify themselves on the first day of class. Ask them to fill out index cards with their preferred name and pronouns, then be sure to update the class list and share that list when there’s a substitute teacher.
• Avoid using gendered language to address students (“ladies and gentlemen,” “boys/girls”). Instead, use words like “scientists,” “readers,” “athletes,” “writers,” “artists,” “scholars,” etc.
• Avoid grouping students by gender. Instead, use birthdays, ice cream preferences, pet preferences, etc.
• If there are all-gender bathrooms, make sure students know where they are and that they are for everyone.
• Make your ally status known by hanging a rainbow flag, sharing your own pronouns and/or supporting the school’s LGBTQ groups.
Watch these videos about kindness, empathy, community, communication, and words next:
• Kindness, a Thought Bubble by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
• Right On Tracks: Music videos that encourage kindness, inclusion, and empathy
• Greetings Around the World
• What is Intersectionality?
• The word Indigenous, a CBC Kids News explainer
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