As Pride month kicks off, ART 321 is presenting 'A Guide to Pronouns' on Wednesday evening, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

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"Pronouns are used in everyday speech and writing to take the place of people's names," a Facebook post from ART 321 stated. "We frequently use them without thinking about it. Often, when speaking of someone in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied. These associations are not always accurate or helpful."

It's a complicated topic with various layers. And that's exactly why it's so important to have a conversation about it.

That's exactly what Elaine Monterastelli will be doing on Wednesday as she discusses the various aspects of respecting peoples' pronouns.

"Mistaking or assuming peoples' pronouns happens," the event states. "We are all human. Using someone's correct gender pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity. Join us for a discussion that will advance the mission of inclusion and safety for the Casper community."

ART 321 wrote that topics of conversation will include:

  • Basic overview of terms and definitions
  • Tips for creating an inclusive environment
  • Sample language for moments of mis-gendering
  • And more

The event will also feature time and space to ask hard questions, and there are many.

"Here at ART 321, we work very diligently to determine community needs based on those that are most impacted by whatever the concept is," said Tyler Cessor, the Executive Director of ART 321. "And when we started with the Rainbow Collective and the Fellowship of Color for Casper youth, we know that using someone's identified name and their preferred pronouns - it immediately betters their mental health and even serves as a suicide prevention measure."

Cessor said that during those different art groups, individuals have been able to open up and allow themselves to just be wholly, fully, them.

"With Pride coming up, we've heard from some arts organization leaders and some board members of other organizations, and they've said things like 'Oh, I really need some help with that,' or 'I don't understand and I want to help, but I make mistakes or I get it wrong,'" Cessor said. "And when we heard that, we just really wanted to provide a space and opportunity for people to learn, and practice, and grow."

And that is what attendees will have the opportunity to do on Wednesday night, either in person or online via Zoom.

"Elaine Monterastelli has been offering this pronouns training for quite a bit," Cessor revealed. "She's also one of the board members for Casper PFLAG, and she's just so wonderful about it. She'll present it in a very low risk way. So if you're new to the concept of pronouns and changed names, then she can help walk you through how to engage in that conversation and how to grow, in a very non-judgmental way."

There are a lot of things that straight, cis people can do in order to create a safe, inclusive space for others. Learning how to use peoples' proper pronouns is one of the simplest, and most important things they can do. There's power in a name. There's power in somebody acknowledging your identity and saying "I see you." Whether you're simply referring to the grocery store clerk by the name on their nametag, or calling a person "Them" instead of "Him" or "Her," one of the most impactful things a person can do is make the effort to acknowledge who a person is.

That is what the class will aim to teach.

The event is free and it's taking place at ART 321, located at 21 Midwest Avenue, beginning at 6:00 p.m. It can also be viewed online at this link.

*About Elaine Monterastell:

Elaine Monterastelli (she/her) has spent the last 20 years working in higher education supporting traditional aged and adult college students with the challenges they face while going to school. She has focused her time on academic coaching, career readiness, financial wellness and academic advising. She also worked in child welfare and the nonprofit sector while living in Portland Oregon. She is currently on the board of and earned a B.S. iin Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from DePaul University in Chicago, Il.

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