Why express personal gender pronouns in an email signature?
The world changes. The ways we learned long ago may become obsolete. Yet new ways can be odd, foreign and difficult to comprehend. One positive change has been the onward march towards greater rights for more people. It was over 100 years from our nation’s founding until women gained the right to vote in 1920. Another 45 years passed before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 protected the rights of minorities to vote. Since the year 2000 public opinion about people’s right to diverse sexual orientations has become increasingly accepting. Laws ensuring the rights of laborers, people with disabilities and others have been enacted to further human rights.
These positive changes come with much struggle and the support of fellow citizens, especially people from groups that already enjoy the privileges sought by the marginalized persons.
When I was growing up many decades ago I had never heard of a transgender person or knew such a thing was possible. Fortunately, I’ve been educated by friends, co-workers and others. Today, I am friends and relatives with people who are transgender.
It takes an adjustment, and open mind and heart to accept changes to our worldview. And it is worth it for all of us. Some of the forward-thinking organizations with which I work encourage this practice of stating one’s pronouns. To show solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, I have chosen to demonstrate my Personal Gender Pronouns in my email signature. He/his/him. Perhaps you would like to do the same.
Why is it important to respect people’s pronouns?
Excerpted from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee website
It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else’s gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive.
You can’t always know what someone’s Personal Gender Pronouns (PGP) is by looking at them. Asking and correctly using someone’s personal pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.
When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (or, often, all the above.)