Lots of folks want to be an ally to the LGBTQ community, but don’t know where to start. One great way to be an ally is relatively low-friction.
List your pronouns. Everywhere.
Put your pronouns in your social media profile & your email signature. Put it on your business cards. Make your pronouns part of your introduction. “Hi, I’m Andy. My pronouns are he/him. Nice to meet you.”
If you are a speaker in the tech community, put your pronouns on your slides, and include your pronouns in your conference bio. If you’re doing a presentation for work, include your pronouns with your name on your by-line.
If you are a blogger, include your pronouns on your “About me” page.
Will it feel a little weird for you?
Sure, maybe. You might get asked, “Why do you have your pronouns there? It’s obvious you’re a [man/woman].”
This is your opportunity to be an ally, and explain why sharing pronouns is normal. For some folks, the obvious pronouns aren’t their preferred pronouns. You share your pronouns to help normalize it so that everyone feels more comfortable sharing pronouns. You share your pronouns so that it’s more comfortable for folks whose preferred pronouns aren’t so obvious.
Try to get in the habit
I’m not saying it’s an easy habit to get into, or that you won’t sometimes feel awkward. I’m saying it’s important. Important things are often hard, and this is no different.
I’m not perfect–I’m trying to be better about sharing my pronouns, and this post is as much about my own self-improvement as an ally as it is about your ability to be an ally. I’m inconsistent with sharing my pronouns, and I’m working on getting better. Lets be better together.
Pronouns are personal
It’s also OK to not give your pronouns. Ultimately it’s a personal decision.
Please, please, please do not ever force someone to provide their pronouns. There are lots of reasons someone might not be comfortable sharing their pronouns, and it’s important to respect that decision.
While I invite and encourage the collective you to share your pronouns, I also understand why the individual you chooses not to.