Using correct pronouns is important to affirm a person’s identity and show respect for who they are. People who’ve never had to worry about using correct pronouns, may not know why this is important.
This Transgender Awareness Week, to help amplify the voices of the LGBTQI+ community and normalize conversations around proper pronoun use, transgender author, Nick North has teamed up with Kraft Peanut Butter to create a limited-edition children’s book with the hope of inspiring parents to speak to their children about pronouns.
Educating the next generation of Canadians to ‘Stick Together’ is an important part of setting up a future of inclusivity for all, but knowing where to start can be tricky. Canadians can pick up a limited edition copy of “His, Hers, Them & Theirs: Learning Pronouns with the Bears” by Nick North, with all book sale proceeds going to support the Transgender Community and the important work surrounding inclusion, diversity and acceptance.
A Conversation With Nick North
How did you come up with the idea for the storyline for the book?
In many ways, this book is my journey. I was assigned female at birth, meaning the doctors thought, “it’s a girl!” But they were wrong. I always knew I wasn’t a girl. I knew the words she, and her didn’t fit. Instead, they felt awkward, and bunchy, at best.
Growing up in the ’90s, I didn’t have the words to express what I knew inside. I didn’t know there was anyone like me. I didn’t know that I could ask for different words. I didn’t know that I could be myself. It took me 30 years to figure that out. Being able to write this book with Kraft Peanut Butter and help families talk to kids about pronouns means a lot, it’s something I already do at home, so when the idea came up, I already had some ideas from our families own experiences.
As a Dad and a Transgender person, I know how important it is to have these conversations because I know what it feels like to be called words that don’t fit. Knowing how to start having these conversations can be tricky for some folks, but it’s actually really simple, it just takes practice.
What is the impact of big brands such as Kraft collaborating to promote important topics like pronouns?
Teaming up with brands like Kraft Peanut Butter feels, to me, like a game-changer for the LGBTQ+ community. The iconic green or red lids are a part of most Canadians’ lives. And for a brand as big as Kraft to stand in solidarity with transgender folks, and make space for us, that’s bigger than marketing. It’s changing the conversation, and narrative for transgender folks, and showing millions of people that we are worth making space for.
Why do you think it is important to begin the conversation about pronouns at a young age?
To some folks, pronouns seem like just words, but to me, and other transgender folks they are so much more. The right pronouns let me know you respect me, affirm my gender, and frankly, make me feel good. They say I see you, and I believe you.
It’s important to have these conversations at such a young age because kids begin to understand their gender identity and expression around the age of 3, and like every other area of life, it’s our job as parents to support them in that. Using correct pronouns is important to affirm a person’s identity and show respect for who they are. With the help of Kraft Peanut Butter’s iconic Bears, Crunchy and Smoothie, the book looks to guide parents and families through conversations at home surrounding pronoun use and why they’re important. Being able to help families have these meaningful conversations is something I’m really excited about.
What are some everyday actions parents can do to begin teaching children about pronouns?
Teaching the kids in your life about pronouns doesn’t have to be complex. It’s really as simple as making space for folks to include their pronouns by normalizing our conversations about them. Show your kids how easy it can be, by including your pronouns when you introduce yourself to new people, and asking others their pronouns instead of assuming based on gender stereotypes. You can also expose your kids to different gender expressions through books like His, Hers, Them & Theirs: Learning Pronouns with the Bears, or even assigning pronouns like hers, them, and zir’s to toys or even favourite stuffies. You don’t have to be perfect, to make a difference, or to show your kids there is space for them to be their true selves.
Published by HOLR Magazine