I am getting more and more inbox messages asking me why I have the “He-Him” pronouns on my email signature (and LinkedIn profile). I have even been addressed as “He-Him” in an email, instead of my name, due to the confusion these pronouns can cause among those who are not aware of diversity issues.
First of all, it is important to address how I relate. As somebody who is aligned with the gender I was assigned at birth, I am classed as ‘cisgender’. This means I am not questioned on what pronouns people should use for me: it may seem obvious I am a ‘he’ or a ‘him’.
It costs me nothing to put “he-him” on my profile – but people who are nonbinary, transgender, or identify with other parts of the LGBTQAI+ community, could have concerns about being singled out or discriminated against. Others may not be comfortable about their sexuality. They may feel judged, stereotyped, or may not want to share something so personal as their gender identity. Other people feel more confident. People are different. It’s a fine line, based on individual personality.
If cisgender people lead the change it can normalise the process, reduce the risk of discrimination, and make those who feel different feel accepted. At RLC Recruitment it is important for everyone to feel welcomed and accepted regardless of their sexual orientation. After all, what does sexual orientation have to do with the work that recruiters do? There should no longer be any discrimination or stereotypes associated to people who are perceived as different: as I learn about gender issues, my eyes have opened to the struggles that the LGBTQAI+ community are going through.
I have heard multiple stories that transgender women are forced to carry a male ID card in Thailand as part of the law: this can lead to feelings of humiliation and embarrassment. In an article by Human Rights Watch, this policy is explained in a lot more detail to highlight the reality. Thailand has long been a country associated as a destination for transgender people seeking gender-affirming health care. The kingdom has been recognised as a place where sexual and gender minorities can live safely and openly: So this raises the question, why is the law and parts of the society still not open to acceptance?
I asked my colleague Cally how they feel about this small change I have made to my profile, and they said the following:
“Inclusion is so important. People’s individuality is important. Everyone has their own image and ideas of how they wish to be identified and we as humans should respect that. I identify as they/them purely because when I wake up, I don’t think ‘today I will be a male,’ or’ today I will be female.’ I purely just wake up like everyone else; it’s important to add that not everyone has this choice. People have a choice of how they feel and identify, and this should be respected. I encourage people to talk about gender as it allows us to share experiences and understand the reality that people are facing. Our friends across the world who identify as transgender are faced with having to constantly fight for their rights to be themselves. As people, listening and understanding so we can educate the older and newer generation is the way we should be moving forward.”
Overall, pronoun identification is something that may not mean much to some, but means the world to others. It can make a huge difference – and in the war for acceptance, talent, employee-branding and human decency, we can no longer live in the dark ages of society.
If you have any further questions on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, please feel free to send me a message on LinkedIn.