Have you seen she/her, he/him or they/them on email signatures or social media bios recently? Maybe you've spotted mine?
It's becoming more and more common for professionals to display their pronouns, and you don't have to be LGBTQ to do so.
Why share your pronouns?
Using pronouns is key to being an LGBTQ ally. It is effortless to do, but means the world to others.
Sharing your pronouns is particularly helpful when people with pronoun privilege do it. What I mean by that is often people who are cisgender (not trans) have the privilege of people always getting their pronouns right.
This happens with me all the time. I look and sounds like a woman, so people use she/her pronouns without me having to tell them.
However, not all people have this privilege. Many of our clients will be trans and/or non-binary and so pronouns may be something that people often get wrong.
By sharing our own pronouns, it shows clients that you've thought about pronouns and understand that they are not obvious, and we can't guess them. This in turn can make it easier for clients to share their pronouns.
Are you a counsellor or other professional?
Do you share your pronouns with your clients? If so how?
What can you do?
There are so many ways we can share our pronouns with our clients and I want to share with you a few simple things you can do to help show you’re thinking about pronouns and understand that they’re important for many of our clients.
Here's an example of how I display my pronouns in my email signature.
In June 2021 Zoom introduced a feature to add your pronouns to your profile. It's optional and you can choose whether you want them to show in all meetings or to ask you each time. So if you are comfortable with this please consider adding your pronouns.
Here are some basic instructions:
- Sign in to Zoom
- Click Profile
- On the right side of your name, click Edit
- In the Pronouns field, enter your pronouns
- In the How would you like to share your pronouns? drop-down field, choose from the options
- Click Save
I have added an example screenshot of my profile so you see what it will look like when you login to make the edit.
Here's an example of how I display my pronouns on Twitter.
There is currently not a dedicated pronouns box on Twitter so I have added it to my bio. Hopefully this changes soon.
Other Social media giants have introduced the option to add pronouns
Instagram enabled this feature earlier in 2021.
Facebook enabled this feature in 2014.
Remember this is optional
All of this is optional. No one is going to force you to share your pronouns.
You may be in a place where you are still working out your pronouns or not sure if you feel ready to come out to your clients. It may not be the right time for you to share your pronouns and that's ok.
However if you are sitting in a privileged position where you have never had to think about your own pronouns as people always get them right, then it might be an idea to sit and reflect on why you feel resistance.
I write a lot about pronouns and have helped hundreds of counsellors build their confidence and knowledge around this.
Want to learn more?
Learn more about pronouns with my free top tips guide. Get your free copy here.
With International Pronouns Day just around the corner on Wednesday 20th October 2021 this is an ideal time to get thinking more about pronouns.