For the first two years of my A/E/C career, I lived and worked in Santiago, Chile. One thing that always stood out to me, especially in the workplace, is that Spanish is a very gendered language. It’s difficult to escape gender roles when the language you speak and the words you use carry the expectation of feminine or masculine characteristics.
However, once I moved back to the U.S., I somewhat forgot about the experience until I started learning more about gender identity. My aha moment came when one of my Chilean friends expressed they felt extremely isolated using a language that couldn’t recognize their true identity.
That got me thinking two things: 1) Personal pronouns do matter and 2) It must be difficult not to be recognized as your true self in the words and language you speak. This led me (a white, heterosexual, female-identifying woman) to explore their importance to my work and our society.
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Article, written by Keelin Cox, CPSM, ENV SP