Ask SGO: Why Shouldn’t We Say “Preferred Pronouns”?

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In this episode of AskSGO, DEI facilitator Kia Rivera answers a common question – why shouldn’t we say “preferred pronouns” when referencing someone’s pronouns?



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Kia Rivera (ki-ah) she, her, hers: Hi, everyone! My name is Kyra Vera. I use pronoun she her, and I’m one of the Dei facilitators with She Geeks Out.

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Kia Rivera (ki-ah) she, her, hers: and for this month’s ask, we have the question, Why is saying preferred pronouns not acceptable.

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Kia Rivera (ki-ah) she, her, hers: So when we are asking folks maybe to introduce themselves, and we say something along the lines of

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Kia Rivera (ki-ah) she, her, hers: please use your name pronouns. Folks a few years ago will use preferred pronouns as a way of introduction, and Lgbtq plus activists. Specifically trans non binary. Folks called folks in and said, Hey, that’s not an acceptable term to use, because my pronouns are not preferred. It’s tied to how I want to be spoken about, sometimes tied to my identity. And I

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it’s on a preference. It’s how I want to be spoken to or about, and it’s the pronouns I wish for folks to use in a space for me, and not just make assumptions about me. So throughout time and discourse we have moved away from using preferred pronouns when saying

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Kia Rivera (ki-ah) she, her, hers: and asking folks for their pronouns. We have been really mindful about just using the term pronouns.

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Kia Rivera (ki-ah) she, her, hers: and I think it’s really important for folks to recognize that language changes, and, as folks say, things are not inclusive anymore, or have never been inclusive, and they move away from language. It’s important for us to take time to reflect on that and honor that ask.

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Kia Rivera (ki-ah) she, her, hers: You might still see things like preferred name on medical forms, or maybe even legal forms. A lot of folks will use the term a non legal name. but within the medical and legal space preferred, name is sometimes use instead of non legal name, and that’s just for folks who might have nicknames, and also folks who might use now legal names within their workplaces, or when they go to the doctor, or for legal documents.

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Kia Rivera (ki-ah) she, her, hers: So just an important thing to sort of recap for us, using preferred pronouns as a term is no longer acceptable, because pronouns are not a preference for folks. It’s tied to how they want to be talked spoken to and about. It’s also sometimes tied to their identities when it comes to their gender identity and or gender expression. So just wanting to answer that I think it’s a great question, and it brings out the nuances of how language evolves and change, and how we’re called in when language is not

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Kia Rivera (ki-ah) she, her, hers: as inclusive as we think it is. Thank you.