Encouraging the disclosure and use of gender pronouns helps create inclusive and welcoming work environments, and one of the simplest ways to promote the appropriate and correct use of pronouns is by being open about your own in everyday communications.
We’ve added an optional Gender Pronouns Userfield on Meta you can now add to your profile so you can share what pronouns you would like to be referred to as while interacting within the community.
You can also change your pronouns at anytime, and there’s no limit on the number of pronouns you can add to your profile.
Using a person’s chosen name and desired pronouns is a form of mutual respect and basic courtesy, and a way to demonstrate empathy and kindness towards other people. Everyone deserves to have their self-ascribed name and pronouns respected.
As a diverse team, we hope that this addition will help continue promoting an inclusive environment and provide a positive impression on LGBTQ+ individuals, especially for those who may feel particularly vulnerable in a digital environment.
If you’d like to learn more, the following article contains a brief overview about using pronouns in your daily life.
In the context of gender, we don’t have an exact equivalent to “they”. We have “on”. “on” is most of the time used as a less formal version of “nous” (“we”). But the original definition of “on” is that it’s an impersonal pronoun. “on a fait quelque chose” means “undefined person(s) made something”.
So, as a gender-neutral pronoun, we created a new pronoun. A portmanteau: “iel”. It’s made of “il” and “elle”. “he” and “she”.
So, if I speak about @AlexDev to say he added a neat feature, I’d say in English:
“they added a neat feature”
and in French:
“iel a ajouté une chouette fonctionnalité”.
Of course, as a recent neologism, this pronoun is rarely used, and I’m not sure it’s been added to our dictionaries yet. If it hasn’t, I’m sure it will be in the future.
Oh, I also have a question. Not related to Discourse. In English, we always see user profile genders defined as “He/Him”, “She/Her”, “They/Them”, which I find redundant. In my (bad) English knowledge… He implies Him, She implies Her, and They implies Them.
So, why specify “Him”, “Her” and “Them”?
You’re perfectly right in the examples you cite, but those aren’t really the point.
In maybe 99% of cases, Dave will be a he/him, Sarah will be a she/her, and Jeff Atwood will be a moderator/banner of trolls. Those people don’t need to specify their pronouns at all.
They do so as an act of solidarity with those who don’t conform to those norms - they/them is perhaps the most well known example, but there’s also other cases. Some people might identify using mixed pronouns (e.g. he/xem), and others still may use lesser known pronouns such as ze/zim/zir. In both cases the average person wouldn’t be able to infer all pronouns such a person uses from just seeing one of them, so those trying to be an ally have taken to using a full set to normalise the practice.
It puzzles me a bit. I don’t know if this is a cultural or a linguistic thing, or both. Some concepts can be difficult to near impossible to grasp from one culture/language to another.
(I read @khenmu’s message, though it’s a bit cryptic to me)
I’ve often wondered if we shouldn’t provide some standard custom user fields that admins can choose to add when setting up their site, and then edit again after creating them. There could be a step for this in the setup wizard or they could be provided in /admin/customize/user_fields.
If the field names and contents are standardized, then the display of them could also be designed for in themes. For example:
Contacts (for team collaboration - phone number, social media handles, email address)