With Pride Month now well underway, EAST VILLAGE. has been thinking a lot about effective allyship, and how best we can turn our thoughts into action. As a team that believes that the value of a business lies in its values as a business, we know just how important it is to listen, learn, and lead when it comes to making the changes we want to see in the world. Turning our attention to what active impact we can have as allies today, #TeamEV. will begin publicising our pronouns, in a bid to destigmatise the conversation around them and ease the pressure faced by our transgender, gender-fluid and non-binary friends.
The topic of pronouns and whether or not they need to be stated is a hotly-debated one (particularly in cis-gendered circles – but that’s a discussion for another day…): from some seeing it as simply unnecessary as, for them, they go without saying; to others feeling like stating them as cis-gendered individuals is nothing more than virtue-signalling.
For us, the issue boils down to the perception that pronouns are a problem for the LGBTQIA+ community to solve, in the same way that issues around race are seen as only a concern for people of colour, or feminism being solely ‘women’s work’. As we know all too well, expecting a minority group to drive change in how the mainstream sees them is not just unfair: it’s unrealistic and unproductive too.
For change to truly happen, it needs to come from each of us adjusting our own thinking and inviting people to the tables we find ourselves at. It’s about us all making conscious decisions to be inclusive, instead of expecting people who aren’t automatically included to invite themselves.
This is what makes the argument of “Well, I’m clearly a woman, so I don’t need to put my pronouns down anywhere; but I don’t have an issue if a non-binary person states that theirs are they/them” in-and-of itself exclusionary. If we all stated our pronouns as a given – in the same way we offer up our ‘titles’ without question – then it normalises the conversation, in turn easing the pressure, stigma and expectation facing the transgender, gender-fluid and non-binary community.
So, in the spirit of practicing what we preach, #TeamEV. will be making our preferred pronouns public, adding them to our profiles, our email signatures, and our website.
Now, we know it won’t remove the struggles that the LGBTQIA+ community endures and in the grand scheme of things, this is just a drop in the ocean for lasting and meaningful change. However, we hope it is a step in the right direction and will demonstrate the passion that EAST VILLAGE. has for ‘doing the work’, as we continue to find ways to be active allies for marginalised communities.
While we are one small business, as a comms agency we’ve seen first-hand just how many tiny voices can make a very big noise. This is therefore us using ours to support the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month, show our solidarity beyond just June, and continue having conversations in the places where our privilege as a majority gives us an opportunity to be heard, advocate and create space for others.