So, What's the Deal with the Pronouns?

So, what’s the deal with the pronouns?

You might have seen them first on LinkedIn, or maybe heard references in an academic setting. “My personal pronouns are he, him, they.” Those pronouns are showing up on Slack profiles and Zoom screens as well. I’ve heard a few questions in the workplace about it. Why are people declaring their pronouns? Isn’t it obvious who people are? Will I be asked about my pronouns? What about other things where we see names?

Let’s take a look at these questions so that we can all have a better understanding.

Why are people declaring their pronouns?

Over the past few years in America, the subjects of gender and appearance have become a regular talking point in the public dialogue. As institutions adjust to new concepts like same-sex marriage, topics like transgenderism are drawing new attention. Not everyone identifies with their biological sex, making personal appearance an unreliable guide to another person’s gender.

Many people who don’t identify with or fit the traditional appearance of their gender are uncomfortable when others assume their gender incorrectly. Pronouns in the English language don’t manage that scenario very well. When given the opportunity, one might offer their personal pronouns so that others can feel comfortable with the pronouns they use.

Why do this if it doesn’t directly affect me?

Declaring your pronouns is incredibly easy when you resemble the traditional view of your gender. To me personally, it seems so obvious that it feels a little silly to even offer it. I have no problem suggesting that you refer to me as “he” or “him.” But it’s not obvious for everyone, and it’s not easy for everyone. Many people whose biological sex matches their gender have started declaring their pronouns in the digital sphere. Not because others need them to; but to make it commonplace, to make it feel less jarring for people who have less traditional appearances.

Will I be required to declare my pronouns?

Not by Aptera. Aptera has not and will not demand that people declare their personal pronouns. Actually, no employer can compel you to divulge personal information per federal law.

Why only specify pronouns? What about other things?

Technically, you could use a ‘name’ field in an application to declare many things about yourself, but the intended use is for personal identification. Gender has long been a part of personal identification; I’ve been called Mr. McNair a million times. Offering personal pronouns along with your name helps others know how to address you, which is all that’s needed in a ‘name’ field.

Hopefully this little explainer has answered a few questions for you. If you have other questions about using personal pronouns in the workplace, reach out to HR or me and we can provide additional resources.

Andrew McNair

Andrew McNair

Andrew is the Culture and Wellness Coordinator at Aptera. He brings decades of experience managing software development projects to his role in promoting a positive and productive work experience at Aptera. Andrew remains fascinated with interpersonal dynamics and loves watching a group of individuals transform into a high-performing team.

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