ISEP believes in validating, recognizing, and acknowledging all individual’s identities and this begins with referring to them with their preferred pronouns. This is why you may see that every ISEP staff member’s bio includes their preferred gender pronouns. Often in the English Language, when referring to someone in the singular third person, there is a gender implied through the use of pronouns. For example, male-identifying individuals may use he/him/his pronouns, while non-binary individuals may use they/them or Zi/Zir.
“Often, people make assumptions about the gender of another person based on the person’s appearance or name. These assumptions aren’t always correct, and the act of making an assumption (even if correct) sends a potentially harmful message — that people have to look a certain way to demonstrate the gender that they are or are not.” (mypronouns.org)
Central to ISEP’s mission is to create a more just, inclusive society – and using pronouns is one easy way we can make sure that all individuals in our ISEP community feel respected, included, and a sense of belonging. In the understanding that some non-binary gender identities may not feel the same social inclusion as traditional, binary masculine/feminine identities, ISEP staff commit to introducing themselves with their preferred pronouns to start this conversation.
Inclusive language is not just applicable to English-language speakers though. ISEP recognizes that we come to this discussion from a primarily western-centric, English language-based approach, and languages around the world vary in their use of pronouns to refer to gender. Some languages, such as Spanish or Arabic, refer to nouns, verbs, and adjectives with an assigned gender case. To learn more about how various languages are evolving to become more gender-neutral and inclusive of all gender identities, this article unpacks inclusive language use in various global languages.
To learn more about pronouns in general, please feel free to explore Mypronouns.org helpful guidance on how to use pronouns.