To HRC Deputy Press Secretary Elliott Kozuch, International Pronouns Day is an opportunity to learn more about pronouns and how we can better respect people by asking, using and affirming their pronouns.

“Especially at a time when transgender and non-binary Americans are under near-constant attack by the Trump-Pence administration, I’m using this day personally to send a strong message of support to my fellow transgender siblings,” said Kozuch, who uses they/them pronouns. “We see you and we are fighting for you.”

International Pronouns Day is observed on Oct. 16 to “make respecting, sharing and educating about personal pronouns commonplace.” Gender identity and expression are central to the way we see ourselves and engage in our surroundings.

Colin Kutney is transgender and is the senior manager of HRC’s state and municipal programs. He knows that being conscious of pronouns is a challenge because people often make assumptions based on appearance and encourages people to not be shy and ask about pronouns when socializing.

“When you’re at a party, or any other social event, with friends or professional colleagues, even just asking a simple question: ‘What pronouns do you use?’ or ‘What pronouns can I use for you?’ It almost seems like a taboo,” Kutney said. “And it’s really a simple question, it’s really not anything taboo at all. It’s quite normal considering we use pronouns all the time. It’s a cultural thing that we’re all trying to get used to.”

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