We are providing this feature for our clients to navigate the complex world of gender identity while helping to normalize the conversation about it. For cis-gender people (a person whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth), even thinking about their gender identity may seem unusual. For a growing number of people that do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth (transgender, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming, for example), gender pronouns are extremely important to use correctly.
Incorrectly identifying another person in a way that is different than they identify themselves can cause extreme stress, pain, and make workplace situations very uncomfortable. We want to do what we can to help all employees that use MISEbox feel recognized, comfortable, and included in our community.
First asking, then using someone's gender pronoun is a simple way to recognizing and affirm someone else's identity and show you and/or your company respect and understand them.
If this is new territory for you, you may experience discomfort or anxiety about saying the wrong thing or not knowing how to even ask someone this question, and that is totally normal. To help, you can use the following suggestion to confidently and comfortably ask your new employee how they would like to be identified:
"As a way of making all of our employees feel comfortable and confident working with us, we like to ask which gender pronouns they prefer to use. My gender pronouns are [ say your preference]. What about you?"
Stating your pronouns as an example can make people more comfortable with the idea, as well as understand what you're asking.
There is of course an option for someone to choose not to answer. A person's gender identity may be a very personal and private matter, just like a person's sexual orientation (which is not the same thing as gender identity). A person should not feel pressured to identify, but know that they are in a place where self-identity is welcome.
Actually, lots of people... including you! Pronouns are one of the simplest ways we acknowledge a person's identity, including our own. Most of us can empathize that our personal identity is important. Most of us can think of a time when we were stressed, anxious, frustrated, or even angry that someone else's idea of who we are is different than what we think of ourselves (gender or otherwise).
Use of this feature should be taken seriously. Please be mindful of your company's policies and procedures with regard to harassment as well as any applicable federal, state and/or local laws protecting employees against discrimination and harassment. Misuse or abuse of this feature by any user will be handled in accordance with our Terms of Service
For more information about this topic, we recommend that you take a look through the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's "Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace: A Toolkit for Employers" which provides a comprehensive explanation of this topic beyond what we are able to provide for you here.
If you have any questions about this, please feel free to email us and we're happy to discuss them with you.