A Note From Jake on Pronouns
I’m writing this to clarify something that viewers of last weeks pre-recorded services might have picked up on; that during the introduction to my Time for the Young, I stated that “I use both ‘she/her’ and ‘they/them’ pronouns”. If you didn’t watch last weeks pre-recorded service, then this is me officially telling the congregation that I use both ‘she/her’ and ‘they/them’ pronouns! This is something that I have been reflecting on for some time now, and I felt inauthentic not letting this wonderful, accepting community know the true me. If you have questions, I don’t blame you! I have a lot too, but let me just try to address some things right off the bat:
- Even though this might seem like a drastic shift, all this means is that, when you refer to me, it would be correct to say “she” or “they”. If you’ve gotten comfy using “they” pronouns to refer to me, don’t worry – those are still 100% accurate. This is an addition, not a change.
- The “they” pronoun is not a catch-all for all pronouns! Although we are used to using the plural “they” to refer to multiple people, it’s incorrect to assume that someone who uses “they/them” pronouns uses any others! In my instance, my gender identity is in a place where both pronouns feel comfortable and applicable to me, and represents the space I feel like I’m in right now – an identity that encompasses both my old way of identifying and also this new, equally authentic way of being!
- The only thing that you can ever infer from hearing someone’s pronouns is…just that, their pronouns! It doesn’t tell you anything about how they dress, what they like or don’t like, or who they love! Think about all the men in your life, or all the women, and think about how different each one of them is; the same is true for transgender people! Just because one person uses “they/them” pronouns doesn’t necessarily mean they are doing it for the same reasons as another.
- Finally, and I think most importantly, gender is something that is not as fixed as we might think it is! For many people, gender – which is specifically how an individual identifies themself in the context of socially constructed roles, behaviors, and attributes that a society considers appropriate for men and women – stays completely the same across their lifespan! For some people, however, that changes as they discover more about themselves and how they relate to the world and society. It’s confusing, certainly! For me, the role that I find myself identifying with, and the one that makes me feel the most complete as a person, is as someone who uses both she/her/hers and they/them/theirs as pronouns. It is an acknowledgment of the things I am proud of, that make up who I am, and that I want to share with the world.
Thanks to everyone who made it through my wall of text! While I’m happy to talk to anyone who has questions about any of this, I also want to direct your attention to some great resources that have certainly helped me!
Pronouns: A How-To, by the Diversity Center
Sex and Gender: What’s the Difference?
How To Be a Good Trans Ally
Thank you all for being the sort of community where I have always felt loved, supported, and held as I continue my journey as one of God’s children.
Yours in spirit,