Response to Gender Neutrality Article

In order to try and get to know someone quickly or in passing, we try to identify which category we can best put them in. This approach is common, and successfully determining where someone fits promotes comfortability and a sense of knowing exactly who that person is before they get a chance to tell you. I believe that when you assume someone identifies with a socially normal term, you risk offending them. While at work, I avoid using gender specific terms because I have been made aware that not everyone conforms to the short list that consists of “he” or “she”. I feel that the expansion of gender pronouns is very necessary for individuals who wish not to be traditionally defined. When we tell people that they have to choose between identifying as he or she for our comfortability, we in turn take away theirs. We make them feel like outcasts who do not belong in our society, which is definitely not true. We also limit their expressions of self.  

The reference to others as they is an easy way to identify someone or a group of people that you may not know how they identity. I believe that it can be positive and negative. Positive, because it can be a respectful way to refer to someone before you make assumptions. Negative, because it can create an in-group out-group mentality in which you make generalizations or assumptions about the group that you identify with the least. This way of thinking can be damaging because depending on the assumptions made. I take this cultural change in strides. I am constantly learning of all the ways that people identify. However, I have made it a habit of mine to allow someone to define themselves before I try to. I often ask how would they like to be referred to, and follow suit. I believe that giving people the freedom to choose who they want to be allows them develop completely without boundaries.