I think it’s great that Instagram has made an update to feature pronouns on pages. This feature was added after people had already been proclaiming their pronouns in their bios. So it wasn’t the company’s idea, but something users had already been doing!
In more recent times, “gender” is now being seen in color rather than black and white. More people are beginning to realize that “gender assigned at birth”, which directly relates to anatomy, can be felt differently both on a psychological and soul level.
Stating pronouns online was previously exclusive to those who experienced other people assuming their gender incorrectly. This can apply to a trans person who may not appear as their gender — for whatever reason — in the midst of transitioning, unable to physically transition, or choosing not to. It can also apply to a gender fluid person who feels both equally male and female, or neither, and choose to go by “they/them.”
And now, cis-people are joining along as a way of promoting inclusivity. By removing the assumption of gender based on appearance, we make everyone feel welcome. It opens minds and conversations about gender and identity.
But there can be reasons a person chooses not to post their pronouns — and this does not imply lack of support for the movement. You can support others proclaiming their pronouns while you still choose not to do so yourself.
For some people, it can be triggering, anxiety-inducing, and stressful to announce their pronouns. Not all gender-fluid people want to go by “they”, because many do not feel like they are exactly in between male or female on a scale. For many, this scale switches back and forth — feeling very female, or very male, or just a little female, etc. — this can change for some people on a daily basis, even multiple times a day.
With the addition of pronouns, it’s wonderful how it opens conversations and makes us talk about or question what we used to ignorantly assume. And if a person does not partake in this option, it does not imply lack of support for those who do.
I am proud to be a woman, proud of both the gifts and the hardships we face. I do feel like mostly woman, but not to the point where I want to emphasize the fact, because there are many days, or moments, when it feels unauthentic to who I am. For me, “she/her” makes sense, but if anyone calls me anything else, that is something I’m okay with. For me, reiterating my pronoun is stressful because it feels limiting and sometimes incorrect.
On the other hand, the opposite is true for others — that being called the incorrect pronouns is extremely triggering. And when you call him/her/them the correct pronoun, it feels authentic and validating.
Overall, it’s a positive thing that we are no longer “assuming” gender, that we understand it’s not just black and white — it’s a rainbow. Gender should be treated like sexual orientation, or age, or background, etc. — in the fact that it’s your choice whether you want to announce it or not, and no one should be judged or discriminated based on those factors.