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He, she, or they? How you can help drive inclusion by sharing your pronouns
If you’re reading this, you can see my name and my photo. What pronouns would you use to refer to me?
Do you know Kit? She wrote a blog about pronouns.
Do you know Kit? He wrote a blog about pronouns.
Do you know Kit? They wrote a blog about pronouns.
For some people, my name may seem to give it away. You’ve met a few Kits in your life, and every single one has been a “she,” so it might seem safe to assume that I am too.
For others, it’s not so easy. For many people in our global organization, my name may not provide any clues about my gender. You might look at my photo, see a person with short hair, and refer to me with “he” pronouns.
Still others are familiar with singular “they” and other gender-neutral pronouns. You might default to “they” if you’re unsure of someone’s pronouns. (A lot of people do this without even realizing it.)
A simple way you can help make workplaces safer and more inclusive for our trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming colleagues is by sharing the pronouns your colleagues should use to refer to you – for example, he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, or multiple sets of pronouns.
At Thomson Reuters, we’re sharing simple ways you can make our workplaces safer and more inclusive for our trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming colleagues.
Here’s how you can help drive inclusion:
- Add pronouns to your email signature and company intranet profile. As we’re working in a remote environment, this is an effective way for all employees to model allyship and promote inclusion. If you’re a people leader, sharing your pronouns also sends a powerful signal to your team members that it is safe and encouraged for them to do so as well.
- Introduce yourself with your pronouns when you meet someone new or when leading a group meeting. Not everyone may be comfortable doing this, but you can set an example and help others feel comfortable doing so in the future (e.g., “Hi, my name is Bill and my pronouns are he/him/his” or “Hello everyone, I’m Ana and I use she/her pronouns”).
- Learn and use the correct pronouns for all your colleagues. If you find out someone uses different pronouns than you thought, you might want to practice talking to yourself about them in the third person to get used to using their new pronouns (e.g., you can say to yourself, “I’m meeting with Aiden later, and I’m excited to see them. I wonder what they are working on”).
- Learn more about gender-neutral pronouns. If you are unfamiliar with using pronouns like they/them/theirs to refer to a single person, read examples of usage and practice using them.
- If you make a mistake, don’t worry – the most important thing is that you try. Simply apologize, correct yourself (e.g., “I think he sent an agenda – I’m sorry, I think she sent an agenda”), and move on. You’ll get it correct the next time.
- If you hear someone use the wrong pronoun to refer to a colleague, gently correct them (e.g., “actually, Terry uses they/them pronouns”).
In an organization of our size, we will all likely encounter people with a wide range of gender expressions and gender identities. For support and resources, our Business Resource Group, Pride at Work, has a great collection of resources for LGBTQIA+ allies and others who want to learn more about gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and related topics.
Kit Spielberger (they/them), is a Senior Editor, FindLaw.com, member of Pride at Work, and an inclusion champion at Thomson Reuters.
Looking for more on Pride at Work and our seven other employee-driven business resource groups? Check out our careers blog post here.
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