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Photo: DCStockPhotography (Shutterstock) When you use someone’s correct pronouns, you’re showing them a basic level of respect. Still, many well-meaning people find themselves confused or even intimidated by the terrain of different gender identities—especially when speaking to someone you’re not particularly close with, like an employee, or your kid’s friend from school. You’ve heard that you don’t want to assume someone’s pronouns based only on appearances, but maybe you’re still hesitant to ask someone forthright. What if it seems like you’re singling them out, or your attempt to be respectful turns out to be invasive? If you feel uncertain how to navigate people’s pronouns when you don’t know them well, here are some tips and reminders for being respectful. Some very basic basics Bear with me stating the obvious, but pronouns are nothing new. You’ve always used them in place of someone’s name whenever you refer to someone in the third person. Pronouns like “he” and “she” carry with them an implied gender. What has become increasingly relevant is the fact that “he” and “she” are not always accurate to how an individual actually identifies. According to a 2019 Pew Research survey , one-third of teens and people in their early 20s know someone who uses pronouns other than “she” or “he”—and this number is set to grow . Additionally, gender is a spectrum, and people can feel like multiple or no genders at different times. Although it may take some getting used to, pronouns are an important part […]