pronouns, english grammar, gender (tiny thread) 

What a lot of people covertly realise, but don't articulate, is that pronouns in English are marked for both gender AND animacy. This is why it's generally disturbing to refer to a person as "it," because that pronoun is only for things. (And that's part of why it doesn't have a gender, objects don't have gender.)

But the fact that pronouns mark for social personhood is part of why it's so important to refer to someone with the right pronoun.

pronouns, english grammar, gender (tiny thread) 

This connection with gender and social personhood can be seen clearly in liminal cases. Some unknown animal on the street is an "it." My cat is clearly a "she." My cat is an intimate part of my social life, a meaningful member of my family. She is functionally a person. Only the animal divorced from my social world could be an "it."

(The same often applies to human infants, who are themselves often liminal parts of the social world.)

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pronouns, english grammar, gender (tiny thread) 

Using correctly gendered pronouns (he, she, they, etc.) is thus an important signal to people that you respect them as fully human and part of the wider social world.

And putting your pronouns in your bio, wearing pronoun pins, etc. are important behaviors that show that you know and acknowledge the importance of pronouns for signalling animacy and social inclusion.

pronouns, english grammar, gender (tiny thread) 

And pronouns in your bio etc. show that you know and acknowledge that pronouns aren't a guessing game, can't be reliably determined just from looking at someone's name or face or haircut or their outfit on any given day.

They show that you know and respect that we need to check with other people about how to properly refer to them and include them and respect their humanity with these linguistic details that aren't at all small.

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