You are probably wondering why we include our pronouns to our signature line. We send out e-mails daily and we make automatic assumptions about which pronouns we should use for someone. With every e-mail we often ask ourselves: am I addressing a man or a woman? Based on the way the person appears we often address them through a binary conception of gender, male or female. We do this almost automatically. We address men with the pronouns he/him/his and women with the pronouns she/her/hers.
For example, we read Faiza Harrouch: we believe she is a woman and will use the pronouns ‘she’, ‘her’ and ‘hers’.
Sometimes our estimation will be correct, but that is not always the case. Think about people with a gender neutral name such as Chris, Ilham, Sam, Bobbie or Rio. Also Trans people often get misgendered based on (legal) name, appearance, (legal)gender .... In addition, there are people who do not wish to identify themselves as man nor as a woman. These are people with a non-binarygender identity. In this case, people can prefer to be addressed with the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their. Some use a combination of masculine, feminine and/or a gender neutral pronouns. When someone gives multiple pronouns, it may be because this person feels comfortable with all options or wants to be addressed with the different options mixed up.
For example Bart Robrechts identifies both with the male and female gender and prefers to be addressed with the pronouns ‘they/them/their’.
Instead of using this sentence: It is clear for him that he prefers to be addressed based on his own choice of pronouns.
It becomes: It is clear to them that they prefer to be addressed based on their own choice of pronouns.
Include your preferred pronouns in your email signature, not only indicate how you wish to be addressed, but also to help normalise the use of preferred pronouns. By doing this you acknowledge and recognize everyone's gender identity and indicate that we cannot make assumptions based on name, appearance… about how someone wishes to be addressed. It helps trans people and other people not be misgendered. Are you also participating?
What can you do?
You can contribute and raise awareness among your contacts by adding the pronouns you wish to be addressed with in your signature. You can refer to this webpage using a hyperlink so that your contacts are able to receive more information.
Would you like more information about gender-inclusive language? Then take a look at our infomation sheets. Don't hesitate to contact Team Diversity if you have any questions or suggestions.