ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gender Questions: Have They Ever Changed!

Updated on June 23, 2016
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

What's Your Pronoun?

"So what's your preferred pronoun?"

The question felt very strange in my mouth, though I've become quite a bit more comfortable in asking it lately. Over the years, I've come to realize that there are an increasing number of students who are embracing just how fluid gender can be, and I'm also realizing just how insensitive so many of us are when it comes to how we view gender.

Even tonight, a young lad that my kids know grinned when he saw me with my oldest and said, "A mother son experience."

It is something he has referred to, in different words, over the months he has known my oldest. The kid would have been right were it not for the fact that I gave birth to two daughters, and while my oldest daughter appeared to let the matter slide off her shoulders, I know comments where she is referred to as a boy have bothered her greatly in the past.

"Why are people so narrow minded, Mom?"

Good question, and there are never any easy answers, though there are tons of possible responses, just as there are to the preferred pronoun question. When kids are little, they tend to associate short hair with boys and long hair with girls. We are a very visual species, us humans, so in order to understand the world around us, we look to obvious indicators to determine where people fit.

Therein lies the problem. We are so used to gender being a very binary construct - you are either a man, or a woman, and that's it - that we have a hard time swallowing the idea of there being the potential for more than one gender. It's the training - boys wear blue, girls wear pink (though it was the opposite in the early 1900s; it didn't work that well, so the switch was made), and we don't know what to do with you if you fit into a different box.

Small wonder that those who identify along the LGBT spectrum struggle greatly with mental health. Something as simple but highly complex as acknowledging someone's preferred gender could go a long way to helping ensure that the person in question feels secure and safe to be who they truly are, despite how (un)comfortable their personal closets are.

The sad fact is, the teen years are challenging enough, and when you also are trying to determine your sexual orientation or your gender, the odds are very much stacked against you. According to Egale Canada, LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2009). In addition, teenagers who have been rejected by their families for being gay are over 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who identify as straight (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2009).

I didn't understand notions of gender pronouns except as I taught English and looked at how the gender pronoun fit in whatever sentence I was discussing at the time. However, English doesn't work quite as neatly as it should, so I shudder whenever I have to use the "they" pronoun whenever I have to talk about one person who uses "they" as their preferred pronoun.

Say what you will about the "what's your preferred pronoun?" question; if it is something that will help students feel a little more like they are being accepted for who they are, then it's time that we as adults and those who really want to make the world more accepting extend a little more of an olive branch to those in the LGBT community who identify as being somewhere along that spectrum. Maybe it's time we embrace that gender pronoun question and that will get the conversation going.

Suitable Possibilities?


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)