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BlogLinodeWhy We Share Pronouns: Recognizing Trans Awareness Week at Linode

Why We Share Pronouns: Recognizing Trans Awareness Week at Linode

Why We Share Pronouns: Recognizing Trans Awareness Week at Linode

Transgender Awareness Week is a one-week celebration leading up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) which memorializes victims of transphobic violence. To help celebrate Transgender Awareness Week, some members of LINQ (Linodians Identifying as Nonbinary or Queer), Linode’s LGBTQIA+ affiliated Employee Resource Group (ERG), share their insights on how these initiatives affect their day to day interactions and experience at Linode: 

Employee quote: "Linode's commitment to diversity within the LGBT community offers a safe space for everyone, whether or not they are part of that community. It's heartening to feel welcome and supported in specific ways such as the opportunity to share our pronouns if we choose, and the more practical ways, like treating us as equal peers in what is typically a male driven profession. 

The LINQ program makes me feel welcome, valued and seen. Not seen as in... for what I can provide to them or the company, but rather seen for who I am and how I want my community to be seen. The transgender community wants what any other community wants; inclusion in a time in history that offers so much, yet finds our access to it limited by society's norms. Little steps LINQ are taking to help us find our way, feel included, and even championed goes a long way to make our worlds easier." 

-Gianna (Pronouns: She/Her)
Employee quote: "Being out at work has always been a struggle for me - the ongoing burden of having to correct people on something that feels like such a central part of who I am as a human plus the emotional labor of being in a customer facing position has and can quickly lead to burnout. I'm very glad to see Linode making moves and addressing trans inclusivity issues quickly.

LINQ gives me a place where I can seek refuge, advice, and support from people of similar experience. Programs like this allow us to build each other up and come out of our professional closets. Along with the teams I work with on my day to day job, LINQ has given me the chance to unite with other LGBT workers across departments and advocate as a whole for what we need to be our most successful and authentic selves.

-Megan (Pronouns: They/Them)

Why we share pronouns

While sharing pronouns is a newer practice for many people (especially at work), doing so is an easy and effective way to be an ally to not only your transgender peers, but also anyone who uses multiple or neo pronouns. We often hear folks say that they feel sharing pronouns is clunky, or even unnecessary if they feel their gender should be “obvious.” The truth is that no one’s gender is obvious. By introducing yourself using your pronouns, you can demonstrate an understanding of gender identity in yourself and others.

LINQ (Linodians Identifying as Nonbinary or Queer), Linode’s LGBTQIA+ affiliated Employee Resource Group (ERG), encourages everyone to share their pronouns in their Slack names or profiles if they feel comfortable doing so.

What can you do to be an ally in your workplace? 

  • Put pronouns on your name field or profile in your internal communication applications so they’re easily visible.
  • Introduce yourself at meetings and to new employees or vendors using your pronouns. For example: “Hi, my name is Megan, my pronouns are they/them, and I’m (insert position) here at (company).”
  • Add pronouns to notes and/or minutes for meetings. For example: In attendance was Jim (he/him), Jamie (xe/xer), Megan (they/them), and Chris (they/he).

The best way to learn someone’s pronouns is to understand their gender rather than trying to memorize the pronouns themselves. Learn what it means to be transgender. Many of us are more than happy to talk about our experiences, while others prefer not to be placed in a position of education. We understand that we may be the first person you might be comfortable talking about certain topics. We also understand it’s hard to be an ally if you don’t understand our experience. It’s disheartening to hear someone say, “I didn’t know where to start” because they are concerned with hurting our feelings. The best place to start is with genuine curiosity, empathy, and consent.

Committing pronouns to memory the same way you do names and faces acknowledges that our pronouns have the same level of personal meaning as our names. Making your pronouns easily visible also helps to encourage everyone to check before misgendering another person. Pronouns are not static and may change for someone over time, so it’s important to keep an eye out for these changes.

“Well, what do I do if I mess up?”

  • Misgendering will happen. What’s most important is how you handle it when it does. The best way to handle misgendering someone who is present is to apologize and try harder next time (“I’m sorry, I meant [correct name/pronoun/honorific]”). Keep your apology brief so that it doesn’t become about you and your mistake. 
  • If you are corrected by someone else, don’t be defensive. Instead, simply respond with a thank you and a correction (“Oh, thank you — I’ll email [correct name/pronoun] about that.”). This is an important step, even if the misgendered person is not present, so you can practice and so others can learn from your example. Any time you misgender someone, practice so you can do better next time.
  • Recognize not all people have the same preferences on how they would like to be addressed or reflect on mistakes and the hurt caused. There’s no complete authority on how to handle these interactions, and what’s most important is to center the individuals who may have experienced harm in the situation and how to best build community and respect with them.

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