Gender Inclusivity Statement
Breakthrough Greater Boston increases educational equity by closing opportunity gaps for students and diversifying the teaching force. We strive continually to make Breakthrough a welcoming and inclusive community for people of all identities, backgrounds, and beliefs. An important aspect of building community is allowing individuals to self-identify and not making assumptions or passing judgments about one another.
What are Gender Pronouns?
Pronouns the words we are using to refer to someone when we are not using their name. Examples of pronouns you might use are:
– she/her/hers (for someone who might identify as female)
– he/him/his (for someone who might identify as male)
– they/them/their (for someone who might not identify strictly as male or female, these pronouns are considered ‘gender neutral’; also used when referring to multiple people)
Some people will also decide to be referred to at all times by their name and opt not to use pronouns at all.
Why would someone include pronouns in an email signature?
Every society has different ideas about what gender means and how to express gender outwardly. Typically, societies teach us to make certain assumptions that tell us which pronouns we should use to address another person. We usually make these assumptions based on gender expression or how people look and behave (i.e. clothing, haircut, tone of voice, gestures). However, these outward signs do not actually tell us how a person experiences or views their own gender as they move through life. This internal experience is called a gender identity. For some people, their gender expression (the way they look) does not align with their gender identity (the way they experience their gender). A person who chooses to include their pronouns in an email signature is simply sharing how you should address them. This means that you don’t need to make any assumptions and gives you the opportunity to interact in a way that respect that person’s identity.
If someone states their pronouns, does that mean they are transgender and/or gender non-conforming?
Not necessarily. Every person has a gender identity and most people have pronouns that they would like people to use when referring to them. For some people, their gender expression aligns with their gender identity and the pronouns they use – they are privileged in that when someone guesses their pronouns, they’ll probably get them right. However, this is not true for everyone. This might be because a person is gender non-conforming (their gender expression is not traditionally ‘male’ or ‘female’) or is openly transgender. Regardless of a person’s gender expression or identity, by choosing to share their pronouns they are saying, “instead of operating in a system that asks us to make assumptions about each other’s genders, I will choose to share my pronouns with you proactively.”