Pronouns in PYM Staff Signatures

Why do some PYM staff indicate their used pronouns in their email signatures?

In your correspondence with some of the people who serve as members of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) staff, you may have noticed something about pronouns in the signature at the bottom of their emails. It probably looked like this: 

Zachary T. Dutton
Pronouns: he/him/his and they/them/their

Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
1515 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office:      (215) 241 7008
Fax:           (215) 241 7045
Email:        zdutton@pym.org

The line that reads, “Pronouns: he/him/his and they/them/their,” indicates that, when others are not using his name to reference him, Zachary would like people to use either he/him/his or they/them/their. In this case, Zachary welcomes either. For instance, one could say of Zachary, “He went to the store,” or, “They went to the store.”

Including his used pronouns also conveys Zachary’s commitment (Zachary identifies as cisgender) to the needs of our Transgender Friends, who often struggle with convincing others to refer to them using their correct pronoun and with being misgendered. One of the ways to ease and eventually end this particular struggle is to integrate the practice of stating our used pronouns so it becomes part of our everyday lives–so that no convincing is necessary.

The practice of including our used pronouns in our email signatures is optional for PYM staff. It is optional because coming out is a process that everyone should be able to do on their own terms and in their own way.

We encourage you to explore the resources collected in this section of the PYM Website to learn more about how to get support and/or serve as an ally for the LGBTQ community. 

If there are words or phrases in this statement that you didn’t understand, see this glossary here.