Dear Cis Folks: Let’s Use Our Pronouns More.
by Maya Cherins
When speaking about people in our life, we tend to refer to each other using our gender pronouns. Up until recently, society has assumed someone’s pronouns would either be she, her, hers, or he, him, his. These pronouns are vocalized at the assumption of someone’s gender, an assumption solely based on the gender performance of said person. This assumption - that someone must look a certain way to be a certain gender - is harmful, inaccurate, and exclusionary to the LGBTQ+ community.
The progressive society we live in today must respect, understand, and learn the accurate personal pronouns of those around us. By using people’s personal pronouns as well as our own, we are showing respect for identity. Research from the Trevor Project shows that suicide and self-harm rates are significantly reduced when gender identity is respected, so if using pronouns can help, why wouldn’t everyone respect and utilize them?
To build an inclusive and welcoming space around you, it is best to refer to an individual with the pronouns “they, them, theirs” prior to being introduced to them. This provides a blank slate and avoids assuming someone’s gender and identity solely based on their gender performance.
As well as not assuming someone’s gender pronouns, it is crucial to remember that someone’s pronouns are not always indicative of their gender. Some examples of gender pronouns folks may use…
Cis folks, we need to start using our pronouns all the time. Introducing yourself with your pronouns makes those who are nonbinary feel more comfortable sharing their own pronouns. There are many ways people can use their pronouns to create a more welcoming environment… These places include your social media accounts, your resume, your email signature, etc!
If cisgender folks begin to casually use their pronouns in everyday life, it would promote an intersectional and welcoming space for nonbinary people, as well as making the LGBTQ+ community feel more comfortable using their own gender pronouns.
Cis folks, we have a lot of work to do to provide a more accessible environment for LGBTQ+ people, and if using our gender pronouns is the first step to doing so, why not?
Here is a comprehensive list of places to use your gender pronouns in your everyday life.
- Introducing yourself
- “Hi my name is ___ and my pronouns are ____”
- Social media accounts
- Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
- Name, pronouns
- Email signature
- Zoom name
- Name, pronouns