One of Let’s Get Ready’s core values is to create a supportive, inclusive environment for all of our students, volunteers, staff, partners, and supporters. We strive to create a culture in which all members of the Let’s Get Ready team feel comfortable being themselves, and letting others know who they are. In service to this value, Let’s Get Ready is committed to acknowledging, respecting, and celebrating each person’s unique identity by avoiding assumptions, and instead allowing each person space to self-identify. Whether it be in an email signature or elsewhere, when a person chooses to share their preferred gender pronouns, they are letting you know how you can refer to them to best celebrate their identity.
What are gender pronouns?
Pronouns are used to refer to a proper noun mentioned elsewhere in a sentence. We use pronouns all the time, often without thinking about them (a pronoun!). Gender pronouns, more specifically, are the pronouns we use to describe a person, in place of their name.
Some examples of gender pronouns are:
she/her/her/herself (often used by individuals who might identify as girl/woman/female)
he/him/his/himself (often used by individuals who might identify as boy/man/male)
ze/zir/zir/zirself (often used by individuals who might identify as gender-nonconforming, genderfluid, gender neutral, or genderqueer)
they/them/their/themselves (often used by individuals who might identify as gender-nonconforming, genderfluid, gender neutral, or genderqueer; also used to refer to multiple people)
Why would someone share their preferred gender pronouns?
Traditionally, society has taught us that certain outward appearances, names, voices, or behaviors are associated with a certain gender identity. We are conditioned to make assumptions about one’s gender identity (a person’s internal sense of self, as it refers to their gender) based on their gender expression (a person’s external presentation of gender, including physical appearance, clothing choice, accessories, hairstyle, and behaviors), and our own societal assumptions about what each gender may look, sound, or act like. Along with making assumptions about a person’s gender identity, we often make assumptions about what pronouns they prefer to use to best acknowledge their gender identity.
Although a person’s gender identity can align with their gender expression, that is not always the case. Not everyone’s gender identity can be correctly assumed based on their gender expression. Sharing preferred gender pronouns is a way to avoid assumptions and make sure that everyone is being referred to by the gender pronouns that best speak to their gender identity. In order to create an inclusive environment, where everyone is free from having to make assumptions and from having assumptions made about them, we encourage everyone who feels comfortable doing so to share your preferred gender pronouns and let others know who you are.