We share our pronouns and ask for yours so that we can create a community that is inclusive of people of all genders.
What is a pronoun? What is the significance?
Pronouns allow us to refer to someone without having to repeat the person’s name. Because of pronouns, we can say “Beth is going to her office, where she will call her friend,” instead of “Beth is going to Beth’s office, where Beth will call Beth’s friend.” Because pronouns are a “stand-in” for a person’s name, it is just as important to get them right as it is to call someone by the correct name.
Why are we emphasizing sharing pronouns?
In American English, pronouns are also tied to gender. When you choose a pronoun to refer to someone, you are assuming and labeling that person’s gender. Because gender is not binary (i.e., there are more genders than just male and female), and you can’t know someone’s gender identity by looking at them, we can’t make assumptions about a person’s gender – or which pronouns we should use to refer to that person. To be inclusive and respectful of people of all genders, we have a practice of sharing our pronouns along with our names when introducing ourselves, and asking others in our community to do the same.
How can I learn more?
For more information about pronouns and their importance to gender inclusivity, see Social Justice Toolbox’s “Pronouns: Choose Your Own Adventure Deck.”