Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl are seeking approval Tuesday for the county to celebrate International Pronouns Day.
The motion, if approved by a majority of supervisors, would proclaim Oct. 20 as International Pronouns Day throughout Los Angeles County, according to the motion published in the board meeting agenda.
The idea behind the day of recognition is to encourage all county residents, departments, government agencies and organizations to use inclusive pronouns in most forms of communications, whether verbal or written.
“It’s like being seen (when people use your pronouns),” said Marshal Peralta, CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Pride Center.
Peralta said people have made it more common practice to declare their pronouns, such as on social media, emails or through Zoom. He added that the day of recognition would be another avenue for people to express their gender identity.
“(The day) would be another way to put your pronouns out there and to start a conversation,” he said.
International Pronouns Day would be a continuation of the county’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, according to the motion. The Board of Supervisors has directed specific county departments and offices to undertake action consistent with the inclusion and acceptance of transgender and gender non-conforming people, according to the motion.
Joe Messina, a local Republican leader and host of the radio show “The Real Side,” said it was laughable and the Board of Supervisors should be focusing more on hard-pressing issues such as homelessness.
“Why shouldn’t we have a ‘he’- and ‘she’-day holiday?” said Messina, who’s also a member of the William S. Hart Union High School District governing board. “The pronoun holiday is just a political move.”
A 2021 national survey on LGBTQ+ youth mental health done by The Trevor Project reported that 75% of LGBTQ youth (ages 13-24) said they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once in their lifetime, according to the motion by Solis and Kuehl. The survey said approximately 42% of participants seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
Also, the study said respecting transgender and nonbinary pronouns and allowing them to change legal documents is associated with lower rates of attempting suicide compared to the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected by anyone with whom they lived, according to the motion.
Chelsea Young, a senior clinician for abuse treatment at the Child & Family Center, endorsed the idea of International Pronouns Day.
“I think it’s important to affirm everyone’s pronouns, gender identity and sexuality,” Young said. “Some people might think it’s just a holiday, but this encourages our children to tell us who they are. It’s a chance to respect and honor them.”
Gina Ender, spokeswoman for Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley, said Barger was not available to provide comment Friday.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the board’s hearing room at 500 West Temple St., room 381B, Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in Los Angeles.