You may be seeing more and more people sharing their pronouns in social media bios and email signatures. Paying attention to these is an important way to know how someone wants to be addressed.
Caroline Henry is a senior copywriter at Seattle-based ad agency Copacino Fujikado and uses they/them pronouns.
“I don’t use she/her, and I don’t use he/him,” Henry said. “And that’s because I identify outside of the gender binary, so those pronouns don’t fit for me.”
Ensuring you address someone with the proper pronouns can show respect and promote inclusion.
“When you use someone’s correct pronouns, you’re saying I understand what you told me, I’m listening and I’m acknowledging who you are,” Henry said.
If you do accidentally use the wrong pronouns when addressing someone, Henry explained the best course of action is to correct yourself and move on. They also suggested practicing different pronouns on websites or with a pet or friend.
In the workplace, there are steps you can take to show you are an ally and make co-workers feel comfortable:
- Recognize LGBTQ+ employees. Show support and ask how you can be there for them.
- Add pronouns in your email signature companywide. This can be a signifier that you and your company welcome LGBTQ+ employees and customers. You can also list your pronouns in your name shown in Zoom or other online meeting programs.
- When you start a meeting or meet new co-workers, say your pronouns when introducing yourself. This helps integrate pronouns into the culture of the company.
“All of that signifies that trans people are seen and welcome there,” Henry said.
For companies looking to become more comfortable interacting with the LGBTQ+ community, Copacino Fujikado created a Pride Brand Guide to help brands develop more thoughtful, purposeful and inclusive Pride content.