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Answering your questions about LGBTQ terminology

Pride flags line Elmwood Avenue in June
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 17:00:45-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Pride month is all about celebrating and increasing visibility for the LGBTQ community. Some of the terms you'll hear this month could be new to you, like non-binary or affirmed pronouns, etc.

We spoke with Mel LeMay, with Youth Outreach at GLYS and they helped break it all down.

What is Non-Binary?
“One of the most common ways that people use it is to refer to someone whose gender, doesn’t fit neatly into the two categories that we think of as male and female. You can kind of think of it as a little mini umbrella under the big umbrella of transgender,” said LeMay.

How should you ask someone what their pronouns are?
"If you’re not sure about someone else’s pronouns, introduce yourself with your own pronouns, so that opens up the door for someone else to share theirs,” said LeMay.

What are common pronouns?

  • He/him/his
  • She/her/hers
  • They/them/theirs
  • Ze/Hir/Hir (Pronounced Zee and Here)
  • Or just use someone's name

What if you make a mistake with someone's pronouns?
“Mistakes are gonna happen, right? Even for the most experienced pronoun user. Apologize, quickly correct yourself and then move on. Sometimes you feel that urge to truly spend a lot of time or apologize multiples times, one of the things that can happen when we do that, the person whose pronouns we just messed up, that feeling of disconnect there lingers on for longer," said LeMay.

Why is it important to get someone's pronouns right?
“Every time they hear those pronouns, every time they hear that name, that feels really good. That means that person sees John and we get a burst of gender affirmation, we like to call it gender euphoria," said LeMay.

What if someone I've known for years is now using a different name/pronouns?
"That's gonna be one of the toughest situations for folks. The longer we've known somebody using one name and pronouns, the more difficult it is to get on board and remember. Just try to be patient in that situation. One of the things we can do is practice. Consistently use that person's pronouns, even when they're not around," said LeMay.

Are there gender-neutral words I can use?

LeMay says avoid using gendered terms like ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and use gender-neutral terms like everybody, folks and y'all.

"Asking if someone has a boyfriend or girlfriend, are you in a relationship, do you have a partner? Using words like that to take a little extra step to be more inclusive and neutral in the way we’re talking," said LeMay.

Why is visibility important in the LGBTQ Community?
“One of the misconceptions that’s been happening lately is that a lot more people are coming out as transgender or as non-binary because they’re seeing other people doing it, hopping on the trend. I don’t think that’s what’s happening at all, I think it’s visibility, it’s people saying you know what, now that I;m seeing someone else being brave and out and open..I want to come out and share that with other people too," said LeMay.

If you have any more questions, reach out to GLYS at 716-855-0221 or click here to visit their website.