The Pronoun Initiative
Fostering an inclusive, welcoming workplace
WHY ARE PRONOUNS IMPORTANT?
Nothing may be more personal than the way in which people refer to us using our name and pronouns. Using a person’s chosen name and preferred pronouns is a form of mutual respect and basic courtesy.
WHAT IS THE PRONOUN INITIATIVE?
The goal of the Pronoun Initiative is to help foster inclusivity and belonging for our transgender and nonbinary employees, and to make Team COTA a more welcoming place as a whole.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Include your preferred pronouns in your email signature.
Including your pronouns in your email, or next to your name whenever possible, helps take away the stigma of asking about pronouns. Here’s how to change your signature:
Step one: In the same location on your Outlook task bar where you go to add your signature, select “Signature”
Step two: Then click “Compose and Reply” in this section you should be able to easily edit your signature.
Step three: Next to your name you can type the following pronouns such as (He/Him) or (She/Her) or (They/Them), etc.
Step four: Make sure that you save it and test it out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you did it! Your signature should end up looking something like this.
Ask others about their preferred pronouns.
If you’re not sure what someone goes by, just ask using simple, polite language. For example, you might ask, “what are your preferred pronouns?”
Use neutral language whenever possible.
Pay attention to gendered terms that could make a team member feel excluded or unwelcome. For example:
- Say “Hey, everyone” instead of “Hey, ladies”
- Start an email with “Hi all” instead of “Hi guys”
- Use “they” instead of “he/she” when writing or speaking about someone whose preferred pronouns have not been identified
Stay open minded and ready to learn.
If you accidentally misgender someone and they correct you, there’s no need to be defensive or overly apologetic. Simply thank them for correcting you and make a mental note to use their preferred name or pronouns the next time.
Always be respectful.
While it’s important to ask questions about preferred names and pronouns, don’t ask questions that invade your team members’ privacy. For instance, you should never ask anyone about their medical status or other personal information.
Don’t put the burden of education on your team members.
It’s not your LGBTQ+ colleagues’ responsibility to explain their choices or lifestyle to you. If you have additional questions about the LGBTQ+ community or what terminology to use, there are many fantastic resources online that you can use to educate yourself.
Interested in joining the Pride ERG? Contact our membership chair Ray Guida at GuidaR@cota.com for more information on how to get involved.