Believe it or not, all people have a gender identity–even cisgender people (those whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth). However, some may not identify as the sex with which they were born. Mikkjm eerwijk and Sevelius found in their study that 30 in every 100,000 people identified as transgender–not including those who identify as non-binary (someone who does not identify as exclusively feminine or masculine). While we see an increase in many types of pronoun usage, this article will focus on using pronouns in everyday life and discuss why it is important to respect pronoun preferences.
Many people ask why they should use pronouns in their bios or other areas where they describe/address themselves. While it may not seem necessary for a cisgender person to put their pronouns anywhere, it’s beneficial to those who do not identify with their birth sex for everyone to identify their pronouns.
When online, gender can be very easy to forget about, especially regarding slang being used (sis, girl, etc.). While it can sometimes be very easy to assume someone’s gender based on their profile picture, what they identify as may not be the same as what you think they look like. Additionally, it is harder to spot someone who is transgender or non-binary when a large number of people have their pronouns in their bio. Before pronouns were common to have in bios and other places, those who did were immediately assumed to be non-cisgender and were often attacked for it. Another good place to have pronouns be normalized would be your Zoom name! As someone who gets misgendered in real life, on phone calls, or even on Zoom (never on purpose), it would be comforting to know that I am not the only person with my pronouns next to my name. It’s never necessary to do, but it makes a situation feel safer and leaves people less singled-out.
While I may be stating that all (or almost all) transgender or non-binary people have pronouns in their bio, this is not always the case. In some cases, a person may not be out to the platform or to everyone on the platform that they use. Some tells for this include the different uses in emojis, but it isn’t widely spread. If you ever encounter anyone online–or even in-person–and you aren’t sure what pronouns they go by, it never hurts to ask.
I know that Menlo is an institution that cares for the LGBTQ+ community, and most want to learn how to be better allies; I believe considering pronoun use is an excellent place to start.