“What are your pronouns?” That’s a question that I’d never heard until I started attending Goshen College. 

When I started at GC, I identified as a cis male with the pronouns he/him. Now, I identify as non-binary with the pronouns they/them. 

The idea of using pronouns still remains relatively new to me. I’m still learning about the importance of using assigned pronouns for myself and others. But I’m surprised that I’m being exposed to this at the age of 18 as a freshman in college. 

Pronouns for me, are an ongoing learning experience. I make mistakes and others will make mistakes too.

 I want to advocate for myself and others, but not harshly. I want this learning experience to be comfortable for everyone. When it comes to advocacy, this is where I struggle. I tend to not correct people when it comes to being called he/him or in some cases she/her. 

I will be honest, this isn’t something that doesn’t bother me, but this is something that I will need to work on.

I fail to correct people. When this happens I become hesitant and let my thoughts get to me. The ideas that process through my mind are: 

Will they laugh? 

Will they care? 

Will they understand?

Will they be comfortable? 

Why bother? 

Having to explain the idea of me being non-binary and using the pronouns they/them can become easily confusing, which is why I always stray from advocating for myself. 

I also feel the people that I encounter and know in my life don’t care or don’t understand this whole idea of identity. I’m not afraid to confront the issue, but I’m afraid of what the outcome would be. 

I’m hoping that more people would at least be attentive towards the usage of pronouns.

 Simply asking, “What are your pronouns?” can be so effective and allows me and others to present our identity. For those comfortable with pronouns, be understanding, respectful and don’t be afraid to advocate, but provide grace. 

For those uncomfortable with pronouns, take your time, be respectful and be open-minded towards those who use pronouns that you may not use often.