October 20th is International Pronouns Day. According to the event’s website, this day “seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace.” Last year, I wrote a post about the importance of respecting pronouns and how to introduce yourself with your pronouns (read it here). This year, I want to go a step further.
October 11th is National Coming Out Day. It was started a year after the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights and has been a powerful reminder about the impact coming out can have for people. It’s estimated that about 10% of the population is LGBTQ+ (Williams Institute), so being able to support someone who has come out is incredibly important. In fact, it can be life-saving. According to the Center for Disease Control, LGBTQ+ youth are 3.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. However, if they have just one supportive adult in their life, that risk decreases by almost 50% (Trevor Project).
The #OwnVoices movement in literature was started as a hashtag movement on Twitter. In 2016, Corinne Duyvis coined the term to emphasize that “an author from a marginalized or under-represented group [should be] writing about their own experiences/from their own perspective, rather than someone from an outside perspective writing as a character from an underrepresented group.” (Seattle Public Library, 2020)
I want you to close your eyes and picture a stranger that you saw today. Maybe it’s someone you saw on the commute to work. Or someone you saw walking outside. Or maybe even it’s someone you saw as you dropped your student off at Shipley. Try and get a super clear image of that person in your mind.