Creating an Inclusive Environment for PDX Travelers
In English, people frequently use pronouns – she/him, her/his – when speaking about one another. However, making assumptions about the gender of another person based on the person’s appearance or name isn't always correct. In fact, the act of making an assumption sends a potentially harmful message that people must look a certain way to demonstrate the gender they are or are not. MyPronouns.org is an excellent resource to learn more about pronouns and why they matter.
Using someone’s correct personal pronouns and sharing your pronouns is considerate of those around you and helps create an inclusive, welcoming environment. So how can we use gender neutral pronouns to foster respectful interactions with passengers? Here are some tips to help you become a pro at pronouns:
Use "they/them” pronouns when you don't know which pronouns a person uses. Practice by imagining you're referring to a customer in third person while talking to a coworker. You can say, "They would like whipped cream on their mocha," or "They would like to pay with a credit card...can you ring them up?"
Share your pronouns and invite your coworkers to share the pronouns they use. When introducing yourself, share your pronouns by saying, "My name is Mindy and I use she/her/hers pronouns." Make a habit of asking anyone, even if you think you already know their pronouns.
Wear a pronoun pin so people know which pronouns you use. These pins (pictured above) can be purchased in many places, including Tender Loving Empire at PDX.
Use gender neutral language when referring to customers. Rather than saying, "Sir, I can help you here," try "I can help the next person here." Another tip is to replace gendered language like "guys" with more inclusive terms like "folks" or "y'all."