I recently added my pronouns to my email signature, and several people have asked me why. My friend Rowan suggested that I turn the pronouns in my signature into a hyperlink so when people are curious they can click the link to find out more. This is the article to which that link points.

A few years ago, I learned the word “cisgender.” When that word entered my vocabulary, it opened up new neural pathways for me. The term invited me to locate myself along the spectrum of gender identity, rather than seeing myself as having a “normal” gender identity (as opposed to “abnormal” trans or nonbinary identities). Locating my cisgender self within the multiplicity of gender identities contributes to the removal of the default status that cisgender identity has owned throughout history and supports the normalizing of queer identities.

“Cisgender” simply means that my gender identity matches the sex that I was assigned at birth. I was assigned the male sex. I identify as male. The English language genders its pronouns; therefore, I ask others to use the pronouns he, him, and his when they talk to me or about me.

It may seem obvious to you that I would use male pronouns, but that is a symptom of the historical default status of cisgender identity. By sharing my pronouns when it seems obvious what they are, I am trying to do my part to normalize the sharing of gender identity across the spectrum so trans and nonbinary people will feel more welcome to express their identity and have it reflected back with proper pronoun use.

I invite you to read this article, which helped me understand why this is important to do. And I invite you to start sharing your own pronouns in email signatures, social media accounts, and when you introduce yourself.