Why Indians are sharing their pronouns on social media
Social media bios can tell you a lot about people – from where they live, study/work and even a little bit about their personality. Now, it can even tell others how to refer to you.
As language changes to reflect a more nuanced understanding of gender, many young Indians are declaring their preferred pronouns. Ray first started specifying how she wanted to be referred to (her) – on Instagram two years ago. Then as she opened up about being a trans woman to other law students at Delhi University, she began sharing stories about her identity. "It is a sign of respect, if not acceptance – even as a token, it is definitely a start," says 24-year-old Ray.
While pronouns like she/ her and he/him are common parlance, many non-binary people are opting for the pronoun "they", which has been gaining more legitimacy after platforms like Merriam-Webster and the AP stylebook confirmed that "they" can be used to describe one person. In fact, you probably already use "they" in your everyday language without thinking about it. For instance, "I talked to the customer service rep, and they helped me fix the problem."
Earlier this year, India's first LGBTI job fair RISE in Bengaluru had name-badges with preferred pronouns. "Many of us assume that everyone identifies with the binary of he or she, but that's not necessary. A lot of gender nonconforming or non-binary people prefer the pronoun they. The idea is to go beyond the assumption or stereotype that because I see a woman, the person will identify as she," says Srini Ramaswamy, co-founder of Bengaluru-based Pride Circle, the organiser of RISE.
He & she are not enough. Make room for 'they'
Srini Ramaswamy's social media profiles have his preferred pronouns – and attract a lot of questions. "They ask why, as a straight man, I am so invested in this, or whether am I not sure of my gender identity. But I'm doing this because workplaces need to be more inclusive. The more you talk about it, the more others will understand and implement it."
In the US, several employers now include these preferences on email signatures and name tags. In India, too, a handful of progressive workplaces are trying to be more gender-inclusive. Companies like Goldman Sachs, Intuit, ANZ, Thomson Reuters, KPMG and Google, Godrej, Thoughtworks and the Lalit group have this option.
Sharing one's own pronouns on social media is a way to support trans, nonbinary and gender non-conforming people. Queer activist Anish Gawande says it is an opportunity to start a conversation. He labelled himself "he/him" on Twitter last year after a #pronounrevolution Instagram campaign by a Thane-based school teacher Dan Rebello. He also pointed that even within the LGBT community, there can be bias against transgenders. "This is a mark that I am an ally to trans people, I understand and respect their pronouns," says Gawande. Since then, many young people coming to terms with tRead More – Source