International Pronouns Day was created by Shige Sakurai, the director of leadership initiatives for the University of Maryland’s LGBTQ+ Equity Center. Sakurai believes that pronouns, similarly to names, allow people to express themselves and their identity to the rest of the world.
“Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people,” Sakurai wrote.
0.3% of Americans claim to be gender non-conforming -- people who identify as neither male nor female.
Although one’s sex, male or female, traditionally defined one’s gender, today’s zeitgeist contends that there are many genders (or expressions of sexuality). For instance, a person may be biologically male, genetically and anatomically, but claim that he is a woman, a transgender.
“Third-person personal pronouns are used to describe a person or people, in American English grammar,” Lenore T. Adkins wrote for Share America. “These pronouns include the gender-neutral they/them/theirs — words that traditionally refer to a plural number but that today are used by some individuals who identify as gender non-binary or who prefer not to share gender information.”
According to Share America, social media networks now give users the option to share their pronouns in their profile, directly under their name.
The State Department announced on June 30, the last day of Gay Pride Month, that it would allow passport applicants to choose their gender, regardless of their medical documentation. The department is also working on adding gender-identity options for those who are gender non-conforming.
This follows President Joe Biden’s executive order, issued during his first few days in office, to prevent discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
“It is the policy of my administration to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, and to fully enforce Title VII and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation,” Biden wrote.