Pronoun visibility refers to the practice of individuals sharing their preferred pronouns, such as “she/her”, “he/him” or “they/them” in order to help others understand and use the appropriate pronouns when referring to them. This is especially important for people who do not conform to traditional gender norms, as assumptions about someone's gender based on their appearance or name can be incorrect and disrespectful.
Use Pronouns in Any Introduction
At Mindfully we encourage clinicians to have their pronouns visible to be a safe place. Personally, the first thing I say when meeting a client is my name and pronouns. This can help clients to feel comfortable disclosing their own pronouns or to process their gender or sexuality in future sessions. It can be impactful as well to incorporate saying your pronouns in any group setting. It would be best practice to have clients say their pronouns in the introduction in group therapy. We can all make a difference by making pronoun visibility commonplace in any space we are in. Whether that is in class, book club, work, or any day-to-day introductions.
Pronouns Save Lives
Visibility of pronouns can help to create a safer environment for individuals who may face discrimination or harassment based on their gender identity. By publicly sharing their preferred pronouns, individuals are signaling that they are part of a community that values and supports gender diversity and that discrimination or harassment based on gender identity will not be tolerated. Researchers interviewed transgender youths and when preferred names and pronouns are used it made a significant impact. They had “71 percent fewer symptoms of severe depression and a 65 percent decrease in suicidal attempts”. We all have the opportunity to make a difference like this in our own circles.
Be Open To Learning More!
Making any changes or adjustments to what has been your norm can be challenging at first and having grace for each other is important in this time of growth. It is also important to take personal accountability and responsibility for the many ways we can all learn and grow.
Some ways to learn more and grow are: attending your local pride events, supporting queer businesses, and volunteering. You can also make your voice heard by voting and calling representatives and taking action on a local to create cafe spaces. Other ways are attending workshops or training sessions and holding corporations accountable. Reading about or use of online resources available that provide information about pronouns such as LGBT media and learning more about the experiences and perspectives of individuals who identify as transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming. Always ask questions and listen if you are unsure about someone’s pronouns! Listen to the individual’s response and follow their lead in using the appropriate pronouns.