Why I post my pronouns and you should too

Written by Lionir

I recently was asked by someone why I put my pronouns publicly in bios, I forget who and I forget where but it doesn't matter anyways.

I believe it was a fair question. Why would a cis person put their pronouns like this? "It's obvious that I'm male", they said.

Well, first of all, this isn't obvious. I'm not sure if it's just the internet circles I'm in but the profile pictures don't align with the gender you'd think they are. So even if we assume cisnormativity (more on this very shortly) and that you can guess someone's gender, this doesn't quite work.

I'll try to explain in detail why it doesn't work and why we should be presenting this information.

What is cisnormativity?

What is cisnormativity? Let's check the wiktionary definition :

The assumption that all human beings are cisgender, i.e. have a gender identity which matches their biological sex.

I think this is a fair starting point. So, most people are cisgendered and you might think you can guess. However, that's exactly the problem with norms. It is true that you can probably do this and be right most of the time but by doing so, you will unavoidably make people living outside of the norm feel alienated, excluded and hurt.

As a sidenote, I do want to point out that pronouns don't necessarily align with someone's gender. You can think of this like people who dress in a feminine fashion even though they're male. It's just easier to talk about it in terms of gender for me.

Now, if you're like how I used to be, you might be thinking "Oh, only snowflakes get hurt by that". Well, if you're a guy, do you like being called a girl? I think in most cases, at least from anecdotal evidence, people take it as an insult. That's not to say being a certain gender is bad but being called something you're not is usually not flattering, let's put it that way.

But also, for people outside of this norm, it's even worse because it most likely happens often and it will probably make them feel like they don't belong, make them remember this feeling that they're in the wrong body.

Fighting it

Put your pronouns everywhere you can. Tell people your pronouns. If people don't tell you, don't feel scared to ask! It'll probably feel awkward at first but you'll get used it. It's part of the process.

If you mess up, it's fine, don't worry about it. Apologizing too much is probably gonna make people feel like they're asking too much so just continue talking and use the right pronoun from that moment.

This way, I try to break the pattern of assumptions regarding pronouns and gender. I try to be more inclusive with my language.

As a result, I can show that I am there for people and that I care about this.

You make people feel more comfortable doing the same.

I try to do it even with cis friends. Otherwise, I think it might come out awkward to people who know me and kinda act like a signal to people that the person I'm presenting isn't cis which is a shame.

Anyways, this is why I do it.

The post "Dear (Cis) People Who Put Your Pronouns On Your “Hello My Name Is” Name Tag" might be interesting to you.


"This is a good point, and it's why I have pronouns in my Tildes bio even though I'm a cis guy. If only trans people post pronouns, it becomes a trans identifier. If both cis and trans people do it, then it lets trans people be addressed in their desired manner without simultaneously outing them as trans. As such, I see pronoun normalization among cis people as a way of giving privacy to any given individual's trans status. We make gender public information via posting pronouns, but such disclosure doesn't tell us anything about whether or not the person is cis or trans. This allows each individual person to retain the right to disclose that when and to whom they wish." by kfwyre on Tildes

I entirely agree, making it a trans identifier would be quite bad.

"Before I make some meta-commentary on what I see in this thread, I want to say fantastic article and thank you for writing it and being a wonderful ally!

I've seen a lot of people in this post advocate for asking someone's pronouns when they interact with them. I've been in the practice of providing my own and not asking others because then there is no direct pressure for someone to provide them, especially if they are uncomfortable doing so or worse put them in a situation where they feel a pressure to provide incorrect pronouns out of fear of retaliation or discrimination. I think this is an important point that is often missed when people want to push the pronoun normalization and would encourage others to act similarly. I hope one day coming out as gender nonconforming is less of an issue and this won't matter, but I don't think we're quite there yet." by Gaywallet on Tildes

That's a very good point! I've definitely seen someone provide incorrect pronouns out of fear or nervousness. This wasn't when talking to me but rather to someone else and I'm not entirely sure if it was simply because of confusion at the time.

When writing the post, I was coming from the position of telling my pronouns first and then asking because I feel that going first will probably position myself as an ally rather than someone simply unsure what pronouns they use.

Join can see conversations about this article on Tildes.