Social media bios (e.g. what we choose to put in our Instagram or Twitter) – we all have the power to choose what to put, as this will give our followers a vague idea of what type of person we are (though this is also factored in by what we, for example, choose to retweet or post on our Instagram page). It’s not hard nowadays to stumble across a social media profile and can instantly see some aspects of the owners (carefully curated) online personality and identity. For example, I choose to retweet a lot of LGBTQ+ related stuff because that’s something I’m passionate about – so someone may guess that I’m very passionate about the LGBTQ+ community.
But I’m getting sidetracked (as a media student and lover of the concept of identity, I could probably go on for ages about how people use social media to construct their identity, as well as identity and labels as a whole). Today I wanted to write about people, regardless of gender identity – putting their preferred gender pronouns in either their bios or, like I have, in their name handle. Before I get started, I have written a guide for cisgender people on how to be a good trans ally, which you can read here– so if you would like to go a step further, which I highly recommend you do, then please take the time to read it. I would also urge you to read my guide on how to use someone’s pronouns, for some extra added context surrounding pronouns.
Now, what’s the point of using someone’s preferred pronouns? Well, firstly, then you know how to properly address them. The act of misgendering someone means that you are not using the pronouns that they have told you (for example, if someone were to use ‘she/her’ pronouns for me instead of ‘they/them’ pronouns, that would be misgendering). This can obviously make social interactions very stressful, and if happens over some time, it can lead to gender dysphoria (specifically a sense of social dysphoria).
Additionally, though it may be awkward to put your pronouns in your social media bio or name handle (after all, you did spend a LOT of time carefully constructing your social media and internet identity and personality) – it normalizes the process if it’s done enough. It also lessens the marginalization of trans people.
Though it’s a small, inconsequential action, it can have a big impact. Though it isn’t the same as showing up for trans people in the streets, fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, it is a nice gesture and I would even say it’s a nice start if you are thinking of getting into LGBTQ+ activism.