Identity 

My name is Bhavani Bala. I am 22 years old, and currently live in Singapore. You can call me Bhavani, Bhav, Buns , Bhanks or Bae (hehe). 

I am Indian by blood, and middle eastern by experience; both cultures play a vital role in my identity. I identify as Tamil from my maternal side,  even though my paternal family is mostly from Karnataka. 

I am a cis-woman, bi-curious, Aries, vegetarian, agnostic, Feminist, INTP, nihilist, fangirl, thespian, self-professed movie critic, and a Slytherin. 

So why did I just give you all this random information about me? Because this is my identity. These things are but a small part of the larger grandeur of my personality. Stuff that makes me who I am, things that differentiate me from the person next to me. These things make me a valid person and not just a blip in the graph of existence. (Ok, yes, we are all blips in the grand scheme of things and we are all going to die one day blah blah – let’s not get irrationally existential for this)

This is all in relation to gender identity- a conversation I’ve only recently learnt about in greater detail. Your gender identity is basically the gender you identify as- or don’t identify as. This is not to be confused with sexuality which is the gender you are attracted to. You can be cis ( gender identity same as your sex at birth), trans (gender identity different from the one at birth), not be boiled down to one gender (genderfluid, genderqueer) or not have one at all (agender). My point here is the question of addressing someone with their preferred pronouns. If they prefer he,she or they etc it is your duty to actively make an effort to call them by that preferred pronoun.

Why?

Simply put, it validates their existence. It shows that you accept them as a person and understand their preferences and respect them.

Let me put it in simple terms.

Imagine you are a boy named Sam. This is your name and a major part of your identity. But when you introduce yourself to me, I decide to address you as Katherine because:

1. “I know a lot of Katherines, I’ll remember you better this way.”

2.” It’s easier.”

3. “You seem like a Katherine.”

You can already see why this is problematic. Not only am I, a random person, completely dismissing your existence, I’m doing it because it’s convenient. I don’t care if you are comfortable with it, it’s just easier for me. It’s hilarious because at the end of the day, you’re not even going to answer to Katherine because it is simply not you. We would all be wasting our time because I’d just be calling you and you wouldn’t even respond. And even if you do its with a sense of great discomfort because goddamnit Gary that isn’t my name can’t you get it right. (This reminds me of all the times people could neither pronounce my name Nor spell it). 

So in short, please take people’s preferences into account. It shows that their dreams are valid and that humanity is not dead. (Yet, but eventually the sun will swallow up the earth, etc etc- did I not just mention that I am a nihilist?)

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