Pronouns: Get it right

January 28, 2021 3:07 pm Published by
  • She/her
  • He/him
  • They/them
  • Ms/Mrs/Mr/Mx

There are many more pronouns someone may prefer to use. Confused? You shouldn’t be. Increasingly, more people are entering the workplace with gender identities and expressions that may differ from our assumptions. So, don’t guess. Ask.

Why does this matter?

Maybe you’ve never had to think about this for yourself, or people close to you. Lucky you. Being mis-gendered is invalidating and disrespectful. People’s names and pronouns are incredibly personal, and using someone’s chosen name is a sign of respect.

So, how do you ask?

I’d suggest asking one-to-one, “What are your gender pronouns?” or “Can you remind me which pronouns you like for yourself?”

What if you make a mistake?

Just apologise, correct yourself and move on. Don’t make a big thing of it, and if you only realise later, just privately apologise when it’s convenient.

Adding pronouns to your own email signature is an easy and gentle way to introduce pronoun clarity in the workplace. It reminds staff that you care and introduces the option for staff to do the same and be more aware. But make it voluntary. Making pronoun usage mandatory may “out” someone not ready to share their full identity at work.

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Related: Make diversity the New Year’s resolution you actually stick to in 2021

Jason Connolly set up JMC Legal Recruitment in 2016 when he was still in his 20s. JMC Legal quickly established itself as one of the big players in the industry and Jason has also become a well-known fixture in the press, offering advice and support.

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This post was written by rubenwilde

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