Pronouns in the workplace are used all the time, yet many of us have a hard time normalizing the question, “what pronouns do you use?” or “what pronouns can I use for you?” or even stating “hi, my pronouns are…,” when meeting a new coworker for the first time. To remove the assumption of gender identity from those we encounter – including your friends, family members, classmates, coworkers or other community members – we need to empower them to share their full selves with us. In holding space for someone to share themselves with us, we validate who they are as they see themselves, rather than who we assume them to be.
The use of pronouns are more important now than ever because more and more people are identifying as non-binary, gender expansive, genderqueer, and more. Research also shows that less than a quarter of transgender and gender-expansive youth feel “they could just be themselves.” When we ask about or use pronouns as a part of our email signatures, we communicate to people that they are welcomed and respected.
To learn more about the use of pronouns in the workplace, read this short whitepaper from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, “Talking About Pronouns in the Workplace.”