by Author Phoebe Cross

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Gender Inclusivity - Good Practice (Pronouns & Data Collection)

Young person stands in front of a rainbow flag

June is Pride Month, a great time to continue celebrating gender and sexuality diversity as well as embedding gender inclusivity into your work. Pride was started as a LGBTQ+ rights movement and protest against an unjust system and police brutality by queer and trans people of colour. The LGBTQ+ community has recently been focusing its Pride Month programming on elevating black voices. You can read our associated resource post on the Black Lives Matter movement, racism and white privilege here.

In this blog post we discuss using pronouns as well as considerations in collecting transgender-inclusive gender data in surveys.

What’s in a pronoun? 

At Youth Music we’ve recently added our pronouns (i.e. he/him, she/her, they/them) to our email signatures. We want to explain why, and to encourage others to do the same if they feel comfortable sharing their pronouns. 

This is something that’s becoming more common in social media bios and company emails – it’s a small but easy way to be more inclusive and normalise discussions surrounding gender. In particular, it allows transgender and non-binary people to let others know which pronouns they’d like to be used, and therefore avoids them being misgendered. If you are cisgender (your gender identity matches the sex you were assigned at birth), having your pronouns in your email signature or online bio shows that you are an ally to trans and non-binary people, and also that you don’t make assumptions about anyone’s gender. It can also be useful for anyone who has gender-ambiguous names, like our colleagues Jan and Sam. 

They/them pronouns are considered gender neutral and are often used for someone who might not identify as strictly male or female – like the pop star Sam Smith. It’s worth noting that someone’s gender identity (the gender they identify as internally) doesn’t always align with their gender expression (how they look). 

We want to make sure our charity continues to be respectful, inclusive, diverse and safe for everyone who comes into contact with us. This is all the more important for anyone working with young people, as those born after 1996 are more likely than any other generation to have fluidity in gender identity. 

If someone lets you know the pronouns they’d like you to use to refer to them, please be respectful of this. And if you’re unsure when you first meet someone, it’s ok to ask! 

For more information, see below for some useful video resources:

Why Pronouns Matter for Trans People

What it means to be gender fluid.

Matt Griffiths, Youth Music CEO says: 

"Youth Music fights for change in the music industries, on behalf of and alongside young people. We’re here particularly for those who face barriers, those who are marginalised, those who are missing out. It’s shameful that women are still so under-represented in many areas of music, and this needs to change. Trans and non-binary people face immense challenges, not least a hostile media environment. Using someone’s pronouns correctly is simple, respectful and important."

Transgender-inclusive gender data in surveys

We have summarised information taken from this resource page from the Human Rights Campaign site which covers options for gathering data on gender, gender identity and sexual orientation for employer/attendee demographic surveys and beyond . In summary:

Consider the rationale for asking about gender and how it will be used - if it's not essential, do you need to ask the question or could you make it optional or make it an open-ended question? This allows people to self-identify.

There are a few options for asking employees/attendees about their sexual orientation and gender identity:

  • A broad spectrum question would be: Do you consider yourself a member of the LGBT community? Yes, No, Prefer not to say.
  • Specific question on gender and transgender status (asked together) would be: What is your gender? Female, Male, Non-binary/third gender, Prefer to self describe (with text box), Prefer not to say.
  • Transgender is an umbrella term that refers to people whose gender identity, expression or behaviour does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. (Not everyone whose appearance or behaviour is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person). Do you identify as transgender? Yes, No, Prefer not to say.
  • Specific quesion on sexual orientation: What is your sexual orientation? Straight/heterosexual, Gay or Lesbian, Bisexual, Prefer to self-describe (with text box), Prefer not to say.

Thank you for reading and do get in touch with us or comment below to keep the conversation going!