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Delaney Murray

Gals With Pals: Gender identity Q&A part two

This is part two of the Gals With Pals Gender Identity Q&A. Read part one here.

How does gender identity influence sexual orientation?

It doesn’t, really, apart from the way someone may refer to their orientation. A trans man who is exclusively attracted to women may refer to their sexual orientation differently than a non-binary person who is also exclusively attracted to women, for example.

What are pronouns? How do I use them/ask people about them?

Pronouns are how someone wants to be referred to in writing or conversation. For example, my pronouns are she/her. So if someone were referring to me, I would want them to use those pronouns, such as in the statement “she writes for The Post.” Common pronouns include she/her, he/him and they/them, but there are hundreds of others. While a person’s pronouns can align with their gender identity, pronouns don’t always exclusively dictate a person’s gender. For example, someone can use he/him pronouns without identifying exclusively as male.

How do I remain respectful of people with a non-cis gender identity?

First, understand that it’s natural to be confused or want to know more about someone’s gender identity if you’re not familiar with what it means. That’s perfectly okay. If you have questions, see if the person is okay with answering some of them before you ask something. But as a general rule, don’t ask someone about their body or any surgeries or treatments they may have had unless they have made it very clear that they are okay with explaining something like that to you. 

Even if you don’t have the opportunity to or don’t want to ask any in-depth questions, it’s always a good idea to ask for a person’s preferred name and pronouns so you can address them correctly. And always remain respectful of how a person views their own identity, even if you don’t fully understand it. You don’t have to fully comprehend how a person defines who they are to respect that they are still a person.

Delaney Murray is a freshman studying journalism with a focus in news and information at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The PostHave any questions about gender identity? Let Delaney know by emailing her at or tweeting her at @delpaulinem.

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