"Welcome back Class to Basic English as a Second Language. Today we will be covering pronouns. Carlos, if Maria went to the store, and someone asked you where Maria went, how would you say that in English?"
"She went to the store."
"That's good Carlos, but that may be incorrect."
"What I do wrong?"
"You identified Maria as 'she'."
But Maria, she is a she, no?"
"That depends on if Maria identifies as a 'she'. She may choose to identify as a zie, sie, ey or ve."
"Sorry: I do not get?"
In America we recognize people's choices as to their chosen Identity. There are many choices, and it is best to learn the right one for that person."
"I do not the understand: in my country they is only the two choices."
"And Carlos, you have escaped your backwards little country to be in America. Why don't you address Maria and ask her how she wishes to be addressed."
"Okay... Maria? Are you a 'she'?"
"Wrong, Carlos. You are assuming she is a 'she' with your question. That can be hurtful."
"I no mean to hurt the Maria. She is very nice to me."
"See, Carlos? You did it again. You said "SHE is very nice." In reality, you might have needed to say 'Zie is very nice', 'Sie is very nice', 'Ey is very nice' or 'Ve is very nice'."
"But how do I know what it is to say?"
"You would begin like this: "Nice to meet you Maria. How would you like to be addressed?"
"Okay, I try. 'Maria, how you like the address'?"
"And what do you say back, Maria?"
"Uh... I say I am Maria?"
"That's good Maria, but using names only adds confusion. How would you identify yourself without using your name?"
"What again the choices?"
"Zie, sie, ey or ve."
"I like the 'she' better, Teacher. Easy to remember only two."
"Maria, you must understand: by using only the binary 'she' or 'he' you are causing great pain to others."
"Maybe I wrong, but if they don't the know if they is 'He or 'She' maybe they already in Great Pain?"
"Maria, this is Important. Not everyone is Cisgender."
"Yes. It is the word used for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth."
"Assigned? Are they not just boy or girl?"
"I see this is going to take some time for you all to process. Everyone, take out your pencils. I want you to write "I can be zie, sie, ey or ve" one-hundred times."
"But I don't even the know what those mean."
"That is not important yet, Maria. What IS important is that the person you address knows what they mean..."
"My mother back home, she told me America is crazy place."
"SHE told you?" Maria? Perhaps your Mother chooses to identify as a Male."
"In America I now don't know if my Mother is Boy or Girl? Learning English is HARD..."
I am Laslo.