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International Pronouns Day: Celebrating people, community and identity | Race and Culture

Remember to never make assumptions about the gender of another person based on appearance or name.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. โ€” Every year on the third Wednesday of October is International Pronouns Day. This year, the annual volunteer-run event falls on Oct. 20. 

International Pronouns Day is all about celebrating people's multiple, intersecting identities, especially within LGBTQIA+ communities and groups. According to the campaign's official website, it's also a day "to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace."

Shige Sakurai (they/them), an adjunct instructor at the School of Education at American University, founded the awareness campaign and created the website "MyPronouns.org" to provide free resources to help people learn more about pronouns. They also serve on the executive education faculty of the University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center.

The most commonly used pronouns are He and Him or She and Her, referring to a person's gender. But, for some people who identify as gay, gender non-conforming, nonbinary, or transgender, those pronouns may not fit. 

Some common nonbinary pronouns include They, Them, Ze, Zie, Co, En, Ey, Xie, Yo, Ve, and more. Some people, however, do not use pronouns at all. Others may also prefer to be identified by their name or nickname alone.

Transgender and nonbinary youth are less likely to attempt suicide when their pronouns are respected. That's according to a 2021 study by The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization in West Hollywood. The study also shows LGBTQ youth who had access to gender affirming spaces, such as school, home, or the web, reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not.

LGBT organizations and groups are encouraging people everywhere to use appropriate pronouns and inclusive language during International Pronouns Day and year-round. 

Remember, you should never make assumptions about the gender of another person based on appearance or name. Instead, LGBT advocates say it's best to politely ask for and use pronouns to help create a safe space.

For more information about International Pronouns Day or to learn more about nonbinary pronouns, visit the campaign's website.

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