Personal Pronouns

We, Fíontans, work hard year-round to build a culture of inclusivity and acceptance. When Pride came around there was no question in our minds that we wanted to share ways we can continue fostering inclusivity internally and externally. 

Human Rights Campaign released a statistic that “46% of LGBTQ+ workers say they are closeted at work.” What makes working at Fíonta so special is our ability to bring our authentic selves to work and small things like the ability to use our correct pronouns lead to the culture of acceptance and visibility. With that in mind, we created and led a workshop on pronouns during our all-staff meeting and wanted to share that content with you!

What are personal pronouns?

Pronouns are words we use to refer to someone other than the person’s name. Pronouns are not just for LGBTQIA+ people but for everyone! We all use pronouns! So why personal pronouns? It does not mean “private” but rather implies a reference to a unique and individual person. 

Why are personal pronouns important?

Personal pronouns are the easiest way to show respect and validation in the workspace, creating an inclusive environment. Too often, we make assumptions about pronouns based on an individual’s appearance or name. Using correct personal pronouns helps individuals to be seen and is the step towards creating an inclusive environment at work. 

So, what are the common pronouns?

PronounsSounds LikeVariations 
He/HimYou already know this one!His, Himself
She/HerYou already know this one!Hers, Herself
They/ThemYes, it’s okay to use this referring to a singular person!Theirs, themself
Ze (or Zie)Zee (like “see” but with the “Z”)Can also be spelled Xe
NameWhatever their name is! Some people do not want to use their name and want to refer to them by their name alone! So, call them by their name! 

How to use pronouns at work?

Some of the ways we can incorporate pronouns at work include but not limited to:

  • Including pronouns in introductions! Hi! I’m Orange Julius. My pronouns are he/him.
  • Including pronouns in email signature, Zoom name, Slack name, LinkedIn profile, etc. 
  • Adding pronouns to your Accounts Contact in Salesforce and Fonteva. 

Practice

Sometimes using personal pronouns requires some unlearning. A great exercise to do when someone provides you with their personal pronouns is to come up with 3 sentences utilizing the pronouns correctly. Bonus, try using sentences that you associate with that person.

Example: Connor just came out as non-binary and has identified zir pronouns and ze/zir/zirs. 

  1. Connor LOVES crafting! Last week, ze made the team these awesome bracelets. 
  2. I asked zir to create a custom wallet for me.
  3. The quality of zirs work is so impressive! 

What if I make a mistake?

Mistakes happen! Making mistakes is different than intentionally misgendering someone. If you make a mistake, correct yourself and move on! 

“Cassandra did an amazing demo for the client! She made these slides … excuse me, they made these stunning slides that provided the client with exactly what they needed.”

If someone corrects you, thank them for the feedback and move on.

 “Jerry: I was talking to Cassandra the other day and she said the funniest thing …

 Simon: They. 

 Jerry: Oh yes! Thanks. They said the funniest thing and everyone on the Zoom call was cracking up for a solid minute!”

Most importantly, avoid putting the person on the spot to forgive or excuse you. Make this a moment of personal growth instead of asking for their forgiveness. Plus, correctly using the person’s pronouns in the future will be more meaningful than an apology! 

I want to learn more!

Here are few helpful resources to further your learning!