Last Tuesday, Instagram announced that their new update would allow their users to officially display their pronouns on their profile!
As a society, we are constantly taking important steps towards equality and adapting every aspect of our lives to ensure inclusivity for all – and rightly so!
This week, it was Instagram that took one of these steps by introducing a ‘pronoun’ feature to their settings. This follows many other organisations, brands and platforms like LinkedIn, Tinder, the NHS and LUSH, who also pave the way for a more welcoming and inclusive community.
Over the last few years, displaying your pronouns on email signatures, name tags and social media profiles has generally become the norm. But for those who haven’t caught up with what it all means and its vital importance not just for the Trans and Gender Fluid community but the natural progression of society – Limely are here to give you the lowdown!
Why do we share our pronouns?
Pronouns are certainly not a new concept – you probably remember learning about them at school! Grammatically, pronouns act as a substitute for a noun within a conversation.
For example we might say ‘Creative Writer Charlotte is over there!’, where ‘Charlotte’ is a name and so acts as a noun. On the other hand, we might say, ‘She is over there!’ where ‘She’ is the pronoun.
In terms of a pronoun’s role in gender, we use ‘She’ as Charlotte is and presents as female.
But for a lot of people, especially those in the LGTBQ+ community, it’s not that easy. In today’s society, pronouns can now provide people with the opportunity to ‘specify their gender identity‘ and it’s important that, in order to show people respect and validity, that we use the correct pronouns that align with each person’s personal gender identity.
People’s pronouns can range from, but aren’t limited to ‘she/her, he/him, they/them’, can even be a mixture of a few and depends on an individual’s gender expression.
But why is it important?
According to GLAAD, gender expression can be defined as ‘external manifestations of gender, expressed through a person’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, and/or body characteristics.’ In society, this means that the gender in which someone presents as using the above characteristics, may not align with the one they were assigned at birth.
Everyone’s pronouns are a part of their identity, even if you’re cisgender. Alongside your name, it’s what people use to connect with each other and recognise your place in the world.
This is why it is so important to know someone’s preferred pronouns and to use them accordingly. For people you don’t know, this might be a case of simply asking, or now, reading their selected and preferred pronouns on their social media platform!
Should my business do it too?
Everyone using pronouns, whether they’re cis, trans, straight or gay, is a way of normalising the use of pronouns in everyday life. It allows people who, for some reason or another, need or want to make their pronouns known to feel comfortable doing so. It ensures that everyone is being heard and treated equally.
Using them amongst your business will let your clients, customers and even your employees know that you are a company dedicated to creating a safe and respectful environment for all your employees, as well as a progressive and inclusive approach.
If you’re a business looking to follow in Instagram’s footsteps, you could insert them in the following ways:
- Within your email signature
- On your About Page/Team Page
- Within employee mentions on social media
- Name badges with optional pronouns included