Our Commitment to Gender Pronouns & Inclusivity
Last month Vicki Philipoff Settlements celebrated the 4th Annual International Pronouns Day (the first starting back in 2018), where we publicly announced our intention to stand firm in our commitment to normalising the use of gender pronouns and respecting how people choose to identify and define themselves.
The purpose of this article is to delve deeper into examining exactly what gender pronouns are, why they are important and a few tips on ensuring that correct pronouns are used.
What are gender pronouns?
Simply put, personal gender pronouns are the pronouns that a person identifies with and would like to be called when their proper full name is not being used.
“She/her/hers” and “he/him/his” are commonly used gender binary pronouns.
The gender binary is the classification of gender into two distinct, opposite forms of masculine and feminine, and these pronouns may be adopted by either cisgender (when gender identity corresponds to the sex assigned at birth) or transgender people.
“They/them/theirs” are other commonly used gender pronouns where there is no clear conformity to binary male/female categorisations. People who are transgender or nonbinary (people identifying as neither male nor female) may use these pronouns.
Why are they important in and outside of the workplace?
Pronouns are frequently used as part of general conversation, particularly in group settings. Due to societal and cultural norms, we are subconsciously programmed to interpret or assign a gender to an individual due to their physical appearance and expression.
This assumption may not be correct, and everyone deserves the basic human dignity of having their chosen name and pronouns to be respected and welcomed. Using the correct pronouns in a workplace setting is a positive way to instil a friendly work culture and uphold values of inclusivity.
The below table provides examples of gender pronouns from the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center at UC Davis.
How do I approach someone about their gender pronouns?
Being misgendered can cause hurt, anxiety and some distress in the individual therefore it is considered a show of good faith to politely ask what someone’s pronouns are. Typically this sort of question is best suited during straightforward 1-to-1 conversations, as this may be very personal to the person you are asking. You could ask: “What are your gender pronouns?” or “Could you please remind me which gender pronouns you would like to be called?”. A simple gesture like this goes a long way in demonstrating solidarity and inclusivity in the workplace.
What should I do if I misgender someone?
Everyone makes mistakes and accidentally misgendering someone can sometimes happen. Apologising and correcting yourself immediately after is one of the best ways to rectify this. If some time passes after misgendering someone, pulling them aside and apologising in private and promising to do better in the future is the best way to move forward.
Tips on how to ensure you are using the correct pronouns.
There are many ways to foster inclusivity in the workplace, and an important first step would be to ensure that you respect and accept how people choose to identify themselves and by extension their chosen pronouns. So here are a few tips that can assist you with ensuring that the correct pronouns are being used;
- 1. When someone corrects you after you have misgendered them, be sure to thank them and accept responsibility for this. This will give them more confidence to be open in the work environment.
- 2. Including your pronouns in your email signature at work is an easy signal to let others know what your pronouns are, however, this should not be mandatory as revealing this information may result in unintended anxiety and distress.
- 3. Using gender-specific terminology can be a force of habit, so changing your use of language to be more neutral can prevent any problematic issues from arising. For instance, you could say “Good Morning everyone” as opposed to saying “Good Morning guys”.
- 4. If you are unsure about someone’s pronouns and you have yet to ask them what they are, you should use “they or their” to prevent any possible misgendering.
- 5. The final and most important tip is to remember, outward appearance and physical features are not an indication of someone’s gender.
Vicki Philipoff Settlements is Perth’s leading conveyancing and settlement agency and has conducted thousands of settlements for our satisfied clients. Our team is qualified and up-to-date with the latest developments in property conveyancing trends, WA regulations and legislation.