A short while ago a friend of a friend brought up a discussion about the current use of pronouns — particularly as they relate to individuals that identify as queer. In a seemingly humorous yet slyly demanding tone, he said: “I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I simply can’t keep up with this new pronoun wave and I don’t understand why I have to. Why can’t we just keep things simple?”
The air immediately became tense, mainly because — I’m assuming outside of his knowledge — some of the people seated at the table were queer-identifying individuals. In an often-exhausting exercise, queer people had to once again, in a social setting meant to be enjoyable, try to explain why their existence matters and why language that adequately reflects their identity and presence in society is important.
People may identify with genders that are different from the sex they were assigned at birth. Some people identify with one gender, others with multiple genders while others don’t identify with any. Gender identity is a person’s own sense of self and their gender, and it deserves to be respected. So, pronouns are personal.