Recently I noticed the trend of adding pronouns to profiles.
Jane Doe (she/her)
While I understand that this is a political statement supporting transgendered people, I fail to understand how that supports/helps.
Here are my questions/considerations:
As of now, we are facing two problems when it comes to non binary identification. First, there is no established grammatical solution that would be accepted/used by people not defining themselves as one of the biological genders. The plural use has its pitfalls when actually referring to multiple individuals and other suggestions have yet to be adopted as usable alternatives. The second problem is the border between common sense and legal right. While it is logical to respect one's personal preference to a certain degree, a general right to be called however one wants to must have its limits (unless you all agree that I am "his holy excellency" form now on and whoever fails to call me like that must face legal repercussions). And it seems like society is generally ready to have this discussion. Unfortunately, starting such trends as to generally post pronouns quickly becomes a demanded label.
What do I mean by that? If you live in the US, you will notice that filling out forms means that in the name of equality we need to label ourselves all the time.
What race do you belong to? Are you Hispanic? Protected veteran, maybe?
Why are those questions on every form? Well, to make sure it does not matter?!?
And I am perfectly aware of another question on every form that most of us easily answer, but others don't: male or female?
I guess what I am saying is that we are trying to solve for a social problem with the methods that haven't solved comparable problems in the past. As a matter of fact, if we really wanted equality, the opposite should be done. We should all fill out forms like this (unless it's medical - you better let your doctor know):
What race do you identify as? - decline to answer
Are you Hispanic? - decline to answer
Part of another protected minority? - decline to answer
Male/female - decline to answer
So what is the impact on sharing your pronouns? Well, in one scenario, there is no impact. People will either use your pronouns, make a mistake or disregard your wishes intentionally. In the worst case scenario you face discrimination. But what is the best case scenario? Is it that everybody has pronouns in their signature? Will there be a time where you will automatically be considered a bigot if you don't? And probably more realistic: Are there recruiters adding pronouns to their profiles right now to "grab an untouched market of transgender developers"?
In conclusion, I want to gather some opinions here. I understand that we want to be inclusive and supportive. My question is: Is this the right way?