How To Be An Ally To The Pronoun Movement
Pronoun Awareness Some Tips
Good evening, friends!
Today we will be discussing how to be an Ally to the Pronoun Awareness Movement was given October 3 as the day of celebration in 2018. Pronoun Awareness is geared towards respecting, sharing, and educating others about personal pronouns. Any and everyone can be an Ally and active in the movement of awareness. We are going to share some helpful tips and suggestions if you are getting started.
Start Using Gender-Neutral Pronouns for Everything
If you are just getting started in understanding and using pronouns outside of the gender-specific then a helpful tip to ensure you don’t mispronoun a friend or colleague by accident would be to start thinking of everything as being gender-neutral. Growing up something was predominantly male or female such as cars. Many people like to give a pronoun to their car that identifies a gender. Instead, start by giving it a gender-neutral pronoun. The practice of thinking Gender-Neutral pronouns first is to understand is to help you to get into the habit of seeking out the information by having a conversation just as you would when finding out the person’s name. We as a society don’t just go around naming people. That makes no sense at all. People have a name and they have a gender identity.
So, begin with a gender-neutral pronoun (They/Them is a good one to start with and can be more friendly than “It,” although some people will specifically use It”). This allows you to more easily transition to more gender-specific pronoun usage once you know what pronouns a person uses.
This is a trick Michelle found herself doing more and more. It began to really help her in all areas of communicating with others especially teaching and working with students. “It is wonderful to see students discovering who they are so early and feeling free to express themselves. I feel it is vital for not only our students but the world to feel as comfortable expressing who they are as humans, and starting with zero assumptions is the best way to achieve this.” Let us know if this trick helps you!
Introduce Yourself with Your Pronouns
As discussed in the first tip introducing yourself with your pronouns is essential to normalizing it and taking away any assumptions. If you are Cisgender this is even more important because it makes the space and the relationships you create inclusive for those that aren't Cis. inclusivity is not the job of everyone, not those who are excluded regularly. If you are worried about making this leap. Here are the scenarios that could happen by doing this:
Julian: “Hello, my name is Julian and my pronouns are He/Them.”
Michelle: “Oh, hi, my name is Michelle and -um- my pronouns are She/Her. It’s nice to meet you!”
Julian: “You too!”
Michelle: “Hello, my name is Michelle and my pronouns are She/Her.”
Julian: “Uh, hi. I’m Julian. Why are you including your pronouns it’s pretty obvious you are she/her.”
(Ignore the ignorance and use it as a chance to educate)
Michelle: “I’m glad you asked. Including your pronouns in your introductions creates a more inclusive environment. Not everyone identifies with just he/her pronouns, and it is important to know right off the bat.”
Julian: “Ah, um okay. Well just so we are clear then mine are He/Him.”
Michelle: “Thank you for letting me know.”
Julian: “Hello! My name is Julian and my pronouns are He/Them.”
Michelle: “I’m sorry. I’m confused how can your pronoun be an entire group of people.”
Julian: “Actually its just a more gender netural pronoun that identify with. I’m letting you know that I’m could to be called by either when you are talking around or about me.”
Michelle: “Oh, I see. Okay. Thank you. I’m Michelle.”
You could get any one of these scenarios and there are more. Let’s break them down a little. As you saw in Scenario 1 there was understanding and acceptance very quickly, which is what we hope for. In Scenario 2 we saw that there were a few that questions led to understanding. You will have to do some educating here, which is how we spread the awareness, and propel the movement farther. As you saw in Scenario 3, there was some resistance, education, but then no change. That is okay too. When you come across these people it is important to remember they are coming from social constructs that allow for little to no movements of gender normalities. Breathe when this happens. It is not on you to change the minds and hearts of everyone. The troubles come if they do not respect your pronouns. If it is in the workplace and you are in California this is a form of Workplace Harassment.
Display Your Name To Reflect Your Pronouns
The last tip of the day is to display your name to reflect your pronouns everywhere you can think of. Putting your pronouns out there for everyone to see propels the movement of awareness. You will get friends, colleagues, family members asking about the pronouns you added and the reasoning behind it. The more people see this small addition to your name the more others will join the movement without even realzing it! This is what that looks like:
Some places that you can add your pronouns to are:
Emails Social Media (Instagram, Pintrest, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Tic Tok. etc.) Zoom Business Cards
We hope this helped you! Let us know by leaving a comment below any other tips for being an ally to the movement, and what you would like to know next. We release two new articles every week Monday and Friday.
We will chat with you soon!
Julian (He/Them) and Michelle (She/Her)