Lately, I have been trying to figure out whether or not putting my pronouns in my Twitter bio is the right thing to do or if I felt that it was redundant.
I am obviously a man, so obviously I go by “he/him.“
That was one thought circling my brain. Then, I saw people tweeting that if you did not include your pronouns in your Twitter bio, you were transphobic, especially if you had the thought I just included above. I do not feel that if you do not lead with your pronouns that you are transphobic by any stretch of the imagination. Like trans people want to include their pronouns so that they are not misgendered, or non-binary people are not called a gender they do not identify with, cis-gender people feel it is natural to assume others will automatically know their pronouns.
Being told I was transphobic if I did not include my pronouns in my Twitter bio made my hackles rise and made me not want to include them even more. I felt I was being bullied into doing something that did not come naturally to me. Intellectually, I know that is not the intent of the people who say these things, but, emotionally, I felt attacked. For better or worse, I am talking about my feelings here–whether they are right or wrong.
Feelings are important. People should be allowed to feel what they feel, process their emotions, and then think things over before they are required to act.
So, I eventually processed my feelings and realized that even if people I saw calling others “transphobic” were truly jerks (I have no idea if they are), I knew that I needed to educate myself. If I was going to stand by my decision to not include my pronouns. I needed to know why it was so important to trans and non-binary people and what it meant to them as people. What it means to their human experience.
I did what I do when I write a story–research. I talked to trans and non-binary friends. I Google’d “should people include their pronouns on their Twitter bio.” Speaking with my friends was very helpful because it was a safe, loving environment where we could speak openly, ask questions, not be judged, and not have everything responded to with anger or frustration. We could educate and enlighten each other.
Also, I found this article on PS Mag by Malcolm Harris:
It was a good article and made a lot of sense. However, I was still confused as to how I felt. Then, I saw this response to the question on Quora: https://qr.ae/TWhBZj
When Elliot Steel mentioned teachers giving their pronouns making the classroom feel more welcoming and safe, my mind was made up. I was going to include my pronouns in my bio. For the record, they are “he” and “him.” But I will not be offended if you call me something else–as long as you are not trying to be unkind. I reserve the right to correct you, but if you were not being unkind, I will do it with understanding and patience.
That is the whole point, though, isn’t it? Kindness costs nothing. If typing six characters (he/him) into my Twitter bio can make someone feel more seen, safe, and welcome, then why wouldn’t I do that? Even being a cis-gender gay man, assuming others would just know that, is not as important as making everyone feel worthy of respect, dignity, and kindness.
Certainly, I am not going to tell other people how to feel or what to include in their Twitter bios. However, if you are confused as to why this issue is a big deal, please read the articles I have included above. At the very least, they will help you with your interactions with non-binary and trans people in the future. Maybe they will help us all to be more kind.
Tremendous Love & Thanks,