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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What About Pronouns?


hand painted in rainbow colors gives the thumbs-up signal
Image source:  Pixabay
I've been thinking about pronouns lately.  It goes with thinking about how to make things like workshops, conferences, and library programming more welcoming, inclusive, and healthy for everyone, particularly trans people.  People have talked to me about the pain of others assuming the wrong gender for them, or consistently forgetting to use the pronouns they identify with.  I've been at meetings and workshops where people are asked to introduce themselves and share their pronouns, or put this information on their nametags, and I've wondered if this is something I should start doing at workshops myself.

But then I think about what it would be like for people who haven't talked about this with co-workers and don't really want to disclose this--is this putting them in a bind?  I reached out to some educators and trans people I respect and got the advice that this should be optional information to disclose, not required, but that it is still worth asking if you can do it in a way that doesn't put people on the spot (so, don't go around the room and require it as part of an introduction).  Dr. Alex Hall shared a really excellent article with me digging deeper into the topic, and I highly recommend looking at it! 

I love how things evolve.  We do our best, and then find out there is a better way, and we get to adjust and keep listening and learning.  If you are interested in learning more about serving trans patrons in the library, check out this handout from Dr. Hall's presentation at the Wisconsin Library Association's Annual Conference last month!

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