Even if you think it’s “obvious” what your preferred pronouns are, you should still be announcing them at every available opportunity. In fact, you should feel absolutely obligated to. “But Ailish,” you’re thinking, “why should I tell people my pronouns?? I identify with the gender I was assigned at birth! My pronouns have always been the same!!” Well, friend, let me count the ways…
It makes it easier for other people to state their pronouns.
At any given moment, you could look around the space you’re in, assume everyone’s preferred pronouns, and get more than one wrong. But you’re cool and woke, so you’d be totally comfortable if you were corrected, and immediately start using that person’s correct pronouns! That’s all well and good, but what about the person who isn’t cool and woke? What if that person is in a position where they can’t correct that person? (And, frankly, why should that person have to be the one to correct you? Why should they have to put that emotional labor into your interaction when you don’t have to?) If you start out an introduction process by stating your pronouns, it means there’s a precedent that person can fall right in line with, without making a big deal by correcting someone, or not being able to correct someone.
It’s easier for everyone (including you).
Hey – androgynous people exist. Sure, you can take a guess at someone’s preferred pronouns, but how uncomfortable is that? Have you ever tried to avoid pronouns entirely, always referring to someone by their name? It’s like conversational acrobatics – flinging yourself through the air with your eyes closed, and hoping you don’t hit anything before you land. Picture, instead, you introduce yourself to someone by stating your name and your preferred pronouns. More likely than not, they’ll respond in kind and boom, no gymnastics (I’m not flexible enough for that, anyway).
It gives people the power to choose.
Maybe someone in your EDU1010 class has just decided to start playing with new pronouns, or maybe your friend is Trans but doesn’t want everyone on the internet to know, and they’re worried putting their preferred pronouns in their bio would out them. When you slip your preferred pronouns in your bio or start out your introduction game by saying your name and your preferred pronouns, you’re making space for other people to do the same without feeling like they have to out themselves as Trans, or unsure, or otherwise. It allows that choice to be left up to them, rather than forced by outside forces.
Social media can be stupid, don’t get me wrong. Instagram wants us to briefly explain ourselves in a 200-word bio? An essay couldn’t even scratch the surface. And it may seem small – if I don’t care if people get my pronouns wrong, why should I have to announce them all the time? But this is one of those acts that isn’t about you. If it’s so small and insignificant, why not do it? Because, at the end of the day, it could be incredibly helpful to someone in your life, and you won’t even know it.