Respect Goes a Long Way


Amelia Solmos, Staff Writer - Copy Editor

Carbon emissions rising, ocean temperatures changing. Wildfires destroying homes, hurricanes wiping out entire islands. Men, women, children killed in the streets by those meant to protect. Family members dying in hospitals at the hands of a deadly virus. Family members dying from illnesses involuntarily taking over their bodies.
In light of all the horrible things life can bring, the smallest demonstration of kindness can go a long way. With around 8 billion people in the world, you never know what someone is going through. The strangers we pass on the street, the people in front of us in line for coffee, the friends we sit next to in class, everyone has something going on.
One of the easiest and simplest ways to let another person know you support them and accept them is to simply respect the way they identify. Sexuality is a spectrum, and so is gender. Sometimes individuals do not feel that they fit perfectly into the sex they were assigned at birth, and much of the time this goes against the gender binary.
While it can sometimes be hard to understand, remember that everyone is constantly learning and that all we can do is try our best. Respecting pronouns is incredibly important and makes individuals feel heard.

Why do you think it is important to understand and respect people’s pronouns?

  • “I think it’s very important, especially now with how free people can feel with their identity and stuff. I think it’s really important to make people feel comfortable. A lot of LGBT suicide rates have increased, especially because of either unsupportive parents or unsupportive peers regarding being transgender and just using other pronouns. I think it’s really important for the mental health of the youth to respect people’s pronouns and to keep people feeling comfortable and just content with themselves. I think it’s very important to know yourself, and if other people validate you, then it’s easier to just be yourself.” -Evan Hickerson, 11
  • “I think it’s really important to respect people’s pronouns because it really leaves an imprint on that person. Someone who wants to change their pronouns is someone who wants to feel and be seen differently, and from what I have learned, it just makes the person feel like they can never be anyone besides who they were born as. When I changed my pronouns to they/them, some of my friends started calling me an “it.” I can’t even express how hurtful that was, and it hurts me even more when someone isn’t given justice. If anyone can be anything, then they can be a boy, a girl, a they, or whatever they want. And it’s so important that we accept those people.” -Ainslee Rogers, 10
  • “Whether you are cis gender or gender queer, pronouns are an important part of identity. They are how we present ourselves and the way others identify us. Respecting people’s pronouns is the most basic form of respect; everyone has pronouns and everyone deserves respect. Each person in our community has a unique identity. By celebrating that diversity, we can create a space where everyone feels safe and included. Taking steps to understand pronouns shows that you care about respecting others. But even if you don’t understand pronouns yet, move forward with the intent to be kind to those around you. That means respecting everyone’s identity, even when it’s different from yours. If you are unsure of someone’s pronouns, ask. Just like you would if you didn’t know their name. If you refer to someone by their wrong pronouns, apologize and correct yourself. If someone refers to you by the wrong pronouns, correct them. You deserve to be respected and others deserve your respect.” -Kaviya Chidambaram, 11

Have you noticed a change in the way students act when their pronouns are respected?

  • “Yes. They are more open; they don’t feel like they have to hide who they are. People are willing to talk — they’re not as introverted. They feel like they can be themselves. And to be able to be yourself in school is to be able to be safe in school, and that is what every student deserves to be.” -Mrs. Bryner, LA & Theater teacher
  • “Yes, I have noticed a change in the way students act. I think it’s like anything else. If you can show someone that they’re seen and that you care about them enough to care about the things that are important to them, they tend to open up and you get to build a pretty strong relationship, and that’s really important to me.” –Ms. Nitchoff, science teacher & head poms coach