As transgender, non–binary, and gender non-conforming people have gained more visibility, more and more people have been including their pronouns in the social media profiles. Some even put their pronouns in their work signatures. This is something that helps transgender and non-binary people avoid being misgendered, but cisgender people have also begun sharing their pronouns in social media profiles and work e-mail signatures.
Is it inappropriate for cisgender people to share their pronouns?
In a 2017 piece for Bustle, James Loke Hale wrote, “If you’re cis and you’re concerned that introducing yourself with your pronouns may be appropriative or disturbing in some way, rest assured — it’s not.”
A thread on the Q&A site MetaFilter included comments from transgender and non-binary people who said they have appreciated seeing cisgender people include their pronouns in e-mail signatures.
Adding gender pronouns to your company email signatures is a great first step to building inclusivity at work. It brings awareness to something that many people might not have thought about before. The discussion around gender pronouns provides further education as to why it’s an important part of people’s identity that should be respected. Using gender pronouns in email signatures also serves as a consistent action and reminder on an internal and external level that this is important.
Do cisgender people find it weird if people share their pronouns in e-mail signatures?
Hale wrote in the Bustle piece that anyone of any gender identity will maybe face some awkward questions at first, but that’s why it’s important for cisgender people to share their pronouns “to educate people about why pronouns should never be assumed”:
Normalizing the inclusion of pronouns in email signatures will be hugely helpful to all trans people, but the legwork of normalization relies on people who are able to share their pronouns, and who are comfortable doing so. Many trans people aren’t able to be publicly out in the workplace, and so deal with being misgendered every day in an environment where publicly admitting their true pronouns could get them fired or worse. Though pronoun inclusion of course can’t fix the myriad of issues that working trans people face every day, the seemingly small act of making it a complete non-issue to ask and give one’s pronouns upon first meeting is a huge way of helping trans folks gain ground in the workplace.
If I were to do it, how should I format it in my signature?
Samuel Merritt University has a resource on its webpage with examples:
- Samuel Merritt (they, them, theirs)
Samuel Merritt University
1720 S. Amphlett Blvd., Suite 300
San Mateo, CA, 94402
- Samuel Merritt, RN
Pronouns: he, him, his
Samuel Merritt University
450 30th Street
Oakland, CA 94609
- Samuel Merritt, PhD
Sacramento Regional Learning Center
2710N Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95833
Pronouns: she, her, hers
The full list of examples can be found on Samuel Merritt’s gender pronouns resource page.
What are other ways that people can share their pronouns?
GLSEN, an organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students, mentioned some ideas on a page on its website, including nametags with pronoun spaces.
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