The US embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, has released a video teaching the “importance” of using gender-neutral pronouns, including “xe/xem” and “ze/hir”.
The video was posted on Embassy social media on Wednesday to mark the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The description of the video states that there is a “range of gender identities beyond male and female” and that it is not possible to know a person’s gender based on appearance.
The speaker in the video, who said his name is Mark, noted that his pronouns are he and he before explaining why people shouldn’t take someone else’s pronouns.
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“You’ve probably noticed that more and more people are stating their preferred pronouns when they introduce themselves in social conversation, in the classroom, at work, in their email signatures and on social media,” Mark said. “The reason is simple. There is a range of gender identities beyond male and female. In English, many people use the pronouns he/she or she. But an increasing number of people are using different pronouns such as they/them, x, and /xem , ze/hir, per/pers and ey/em. These are called gender-neutral pronouns.”
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“They don’t specify the gender of the subject of the sentence, and they exist because you can’t assume someone’s gender just by looking at them,” she continued. “Words matter and are powerful tools for conveying meaning and connecting more deeply with one another.”
Mark said making “incorrect assumptions” about a person’s gender is a “microaggression” that he says could be harmful to people who identify with transgender or queer communities.
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“So what’s the best way to make sure you’re using the right pronouns?” Just ask. Asking and using someone’s preferred pronouns shows respect and helps create an inclusive environment,” she concluded.