VEAP has made an intentional commitment to include gender pronouns throughout our organization because we believe that referring to a person by their chosen name and pronouns shows respect, acceptance and inclusion: all important VEAP values!
What are gender pronouns?
Pronouns are used in language when we refer to ourselves or other people. They are fluid and can regularly change; it is the choice of each individual to decide for themselves how they want to identify—including choosing not to share pronouns at all.
Gender pronouns are not the same as a person’s anatomical sex or sexuality (who they’re attracted to). Pronouns cannot be inferred by the way someone dresses or wears their hair—it’s a question that must be asked. Gender pronouns are freely chosen, so they can no longer be assumed based on the “traditional sex/gender” of someone’s name. Chosen pronouns are questions that need to be asked of everyone, until you remember them along with their name. It is respectful to ask someone what their chosen pronouns are, so ask away.
Common pronouns include:
- he/him/his (for someone who might identify as male)
- she/her/hers (for someone who might identify as female)
- they/them/their (for someone who identifies with a gender outside of the male/female gender binary, these pronouns are considered gender neutral)
- zie/zim/zis (another example of a gender neutral option)
- and many more options!
What’s my role?
When you introduce yourself to a new person at VEAP, consider including your gender pronouns, “My name is Carla, I use she/her pronouns, how about you?” Include pronouns in introductions or icebreaker activities, especially if new people are in the room. Use them on your name badge, if you choose. VEAP has pronoun stickers available for use.
Identifying with certain pronouns and sharing them is optional. However, once someone has shared their own pronouns with you, it’s important to use them.
Other helpful tips…
Gender pronouns can change! If you haven’t seen someone in a while they might be using different pronouns. If you mistakenly misgender someone: Apologize that you called them by the wrong pronoun and move on to using the correct pronoun—humans make mistakes—try not to draw too much attention to yourself and simply acknowledge the mistake and move on.
Correctly gendering someone is about acknowledging their personhood and the best way to do that is to try your best and improve next time if you make a mistake.
Thank you for helping us make VEAP a more inclusive place for everyone!