• OlneyElSpeaksStaff

Classmates Have Problems with Pronouns

Zujeily

 

At Olney Elementary, most of the students are pretty open minded. We respect everyone’s sexuality and their pronouns. Of course, that’s with students. But I think we have a problem with respecting teachers.


I’ve noticed that some students have been using the incorrect pronouns for teachers . At first, I assumed it was an accident. If you haven’t met someone with different pronouns (ex. They/Them, Ze/Zir), it’s going to be difficult to adjust, and that’s okay.


But, what’s not okay is using the incorrect pronouns on purpose.


Here’s an example. One of my teachers, who uses they/them pronouns, had upset the students, because of an assignment that they thought was unfair. Once we got to our next class, they started to complain, like anyone else who got mad at something. But instead of complaining about the activity, they complained about the teacher’s gender identity. They said things like, “it’s either you’re a woman or a man, she needs to make up her mind,” and “she’s that confused? It’s easy. He, her.”


I obviously got upset. Imagine you have a peanut allergy. You’re at a restaurant with a friend, and they order something with peanuts. They go to order one for you, and you say, “oh, sorry, I’m allergic to peanuts,” because of course, you can’t eat peanuts. Your friend remarks with, “what? No you’re not,” or, “are you sure about it?” It’s kind of ridiculous, right? You can’t magically be cured of an allergy you’ve had for your whole life. It’s just something you can’t control.


You can’t just not be who you are.


We all learn to respect. Respect someone’s race, respect their religion, respect their culture. I just want people to learn to respect someone’s pronouns like it’s who they are—because it is. Treat it like a peanut allergy. You shouldn't forget their pronouns (or their peanut allergy), and you shouldn’t just call them the wrong pronouns, unless it’s an accident (or you shouldn’t just feed them peanuts, unless it’s an accident).


Just be kind and respectful. Things’ll be better for everyone if we just stay kind and respectful.