You may have noticed pronouns listed in our email signatures here at Radical Partners.

Example:

[Name]

Pronouns: she/her, he/him, they/them, etc.

Chief Coolness Officer | Radical Partners

Here’s a quick background on why we do it, and why we encourage you to join us.

Many individuals have never had to think twice about the pronouns they use. If you identify as the gender you were assigned at birth, and you appear outwardly typical of that gender, then whatever pronouns people use for you feel extremely natural and aligned.

For some people, pronouns are actually quite a stressful (or even threatening) part of their work and life experience. Here are five reasons why we have chosen to add our pronouns, and why you might consider following suit.

  1. In 29 states (including Florida), there are no anti-discrimination laws protecting trans people from being fired, simply for being trans. Therefore, bringing up this subject can literally jeopardize their employment and livelihood. By adding pronouns you signal that you are actively open to accommodating, that you welcome your employees in their entirety, and that you welcome all sorts of people in your workplace regardless of gender identity.

  2. Being misgendered is a damaging event to many trans and non-binary people and being thoughtful about using the correct pronouns is a sign of respect. Setting up systems of pronoun sharing works to avoid any awkwardness or harm and is a signifier of inclusivity.

  3. If all staff members actively announce their pronouns, then the burden is taken off of transgender and non-binary individuals to self identify and explain themselves. It actively creates a space where all people just communicate easily how they want to be identified.

  4. By using pronouns in your signature, you make it easier for others who interact with you to offer that information to you smoothly, relieving them of any stress they may be carrying about being misunderstood, disrespected, or even harmed for their identity.

  5. Using pronouns bucks the idea that pronouns are easily identifiable from looking at a person. Gender is not visual, but rather is something that you must (respectfully of course) ask about. Someone who you may read as a woman because of dominant ideas of what a woman looks like, may actually be non-binary and use they/them pronouns. Or even a man using he/him pronouns. We wouldn’t call someone Samantha just because they look like a Samantha, and by allowing people to teach us how they identify, we prevent accidentally projecting our own preconceived notions of gender onto others.

There are many more steps we can all take to make trans and non-binary people feel comfortable in the workplace but utilizing pronouns in introductions, in e-mail signatures, etc. establishes a norm that demonstrates that we are comfortable talking about gender and that we welcome further advisement on how to make our workspace as comfortable and safe for as many people.

As a cis person, I never thought about doing this until I had a transgender woman on my team. As I looked to create a safe workspace for her, I realized that I needed to take this step not just for her, but for everybody. For the transgender leaders who haven’t joined my team because they didn’t know they would be safe. For the transgender leaders I work with who never felt safe enough to tell me that they were trans. For the leaders on other teams who might see that this is a small step they can take to build a work space that is truly inclusive for all. It costs me nothing, but it is a choice that has been worth its weight in gold.