To Pronoun or Not To Pronoun

To Pronoun or Not To Pronoun

Let’s talk pronouns.

It is something that I have given thought to, so when my podcaster friend received this question and asked my opinion, I was ready to answer.

Audience Question: “I noticed that some people list their pronouns underneath their names. I’m on board with people showing them, and I make the effort to use the right ones for different people. But since I’m fine with the pronouns that would be assumed for me, I don’t feel the need to list them personally. My question is: How would putting pronouns on my social media be perceived by others? Does using pronouns help indicate something culturally? Would it help my online presence to show pronouns?”

The short answer is if you feel comfortable sharing your pronouns, do it.

The longer answer… Ask yourself how you want to be perceived.

Initially, I had the same perspective about there not being a need to share if you followed the pronoun norm. But that is just what caught me, the word “norm.” That positions anyone who doesn’t follow traditional pronouns as abnormal. Personally, that is the last thing I want to make anyone feel.

A friend stated it more eloquently and gave me a perspective that I hadn’t thought about before. She explained her argument for everyone posting their pronouns.

“If we all do it, we normalize it. We give a safe space for people to express their authentic selves. If you want to make your brand more inclusive, sharing your pronouns is a great way to show that.”

As a result, I added my pronouns to my email signature and a few other places, though not every single place I appear. Just some key ones.

There is no pressure or judgment here. If you feel like the culture of your organization or your community isn’t accepting – it is a personal choice. You can try it and share your reasoning. Perhaps you will open a mind or two.

You can start a practice of inclusivity in smaller settings. If you are doing one-on-one meetings, read the room and trust your gut. I’d start a conversation like, “Hi, I’m Michelle, I use she/her pronouns. What’s your name?” It’s simple and to the point.

At the end of the day, intention is everything. No matter where you are, you can adopt a mindset of inclusivity. How can you make someone feel welcome, accepted, and included?

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