Why We Use Pronouns

Friday Dec 27th, 2019


Blog > Why We Use Pronouns

Why We Include Pronouns in our Email Signatures

You may have noticed pronouns listed in our email signatures here at YoungArts.

Example:

Riley Peters
Office Coordinator
305.377.1140 Ext. 1234
Pronouns: she/her/hers


For some people, pronouns are actually a quite stressful (or even threatening) part of their work and life experience. Here are five reasons why we, as an organization, have chosen to add our pronouns to our email signatures, and why you might consider following suit.
  1. In 29 states (including Florida), there are no anti-discrimination laws protecting trans people from being fired, simply for being trans. Therefore, bringing up this subject can literally jeopardize their employment and livelihood. By adding pronouns you signal that you are actively open to accommodating, that you welcome your employees in their entirety, and that you welcome all sorts of people in your workplace regardless of gender identity.
  2. Being misgendered is a damaging event to many trans and non-binary people and being thoughtful about using the correct pronouns is a sign of respect. Setting up systems of pronoun sharing works to avoid any awkwardness or harm and is a signifier of inclusivity.
  3. If all staff members actively announce their pronouns, then the burden is taken off of transgender and non-binary individuals to self-identify and explain themselves. It actively creates a space where all people just communicate easily how they want to be identified.
  4. By using pronouns in your signature, you make it easier for others who interact with you to offer that information to you smoothly, relieving them of any stress they may be carrying about being misunderstood, disrespected, or even harmed for their identity.
  5. Using pronouns bucks the idea that pronouns are easily identifiable from looking at a person. Gender is not visual, but rather is something that you must (respectfully of course) ask about. Someone who you may read as a woman because of dominant ideas of what a woman looks like may actually be non-binary and use they/them pronouns. Or even a man using he/him pronouns. We wouldn’t call someone Samantha just because they look like a Samantha, and by allowing people to teach us how they identify, we prevent accidentally projecting our own preconceived notions of gender onto others.
There are many more steps we can all take to make trans and non-binary people feel comfortable in the workplace but utilizing pronouns in introductions, in e-mail signatures, etc. establishes a norm that demonstrates that we are comfortable talking about gender and that we welcome further advisement on how to make our workspace as comfortable and safe for as many people.
At YoungArts, we believe in excellence, collaboration, inclusivity, experimentation, respect and integrity. We’re proud to take this small step towards creating an equitable space for our employees, artists and colleagues and invite you to adopt the practice as well.

Written by Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, originally published by Radical Partners

References:
Why Pronouns
Radical Partners- “Why we include pronouns in our signatures