October 20 is International Pronouns Day! Pronouns are words that a person may use to identify themselves in addition to and/or instead of their name. For example, ‘she/her/hers’ and ‘he/him/his’ are typically feminine and masculine pronouns, respectively. However, some people prefer to use non-binary or gender-neutral pronouns. The most common gender-neutral pronouns are they/them/theirs, used in the singular form to refer to an individual in a way that isn’t gendered.
International Pronouns Day seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. An easy way to normalize the use of pronouns and share your own preferences is to include them in your email signature, on name tags and modifying your name on zoom/webex to include them - you may have seen some of our GRH team members doing this already in various forms i.e. Bob Smith (he/him/his).
Including pronouns in an email signature, webex name or sharing them as part of a verbal introduction signals you as an LGBTQ2+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning and 2-Spirit) ally and allows you to share your preferred pronouns, while understanding the preference of your colleagues. This can help to avoid assumptions and mistakes when addressing others.
Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Addressing your colleagues using their identified pronouns helps create a real sense of belonging, inclusivity and respect in the workplace. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities.
You can learn more about pronouns including how to share your own and how to ask someone about their pronouns at mypronouns.org.
Written by the GRH Pride Working Group