Zoom In: Pronoun etiquette for virtual spaces and beyond – Part Two

~Written by: Benny Llamas NIC (Benny,They)

Hands form Heart

Zoom allows us greater prep and insight as to what the culture of a given space or organization could be. Using our own pronouns in these spaces helps cultivate a more supportive space, normalizes this process, and shows any Trans, Non-Binary, or Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) person that your, and by extension their pronouns matter to you.

Help us normalize the practice

It is so important that we use our pronouns in these spaces because you, as a cisgender person, have the power to normalize this practice safely without fear of retaliation.  TGNC people are still fired, harassed, and murdered at significantly higher rates than cisgender people. This number gets even higher if you are a Trans person of color and gets even worse for Trans women of color (specifically Black and Brown women) *1.

Us Trans, Non-Binary, and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) folks risk ourselves by doing this in business meetings and other spaces where the culture may not be as welcoming. We need you as allies to make this practice normal in Zoom, your email signatures, and even when introducing yourselves. I endeavor to be brave in some circles where I do post my pronouns as they inevitably do come up in these virtual spaces. Our existence is an act of defiance from a society that constantly tells us we are not worth it. In order for these acts to gain traction and to really transform culture, we need you to act too.


Zoom name- ASL Interpreter Carlos (He/Him)

Live intro- “Hi my name is Erika, pronouns she/her…”

When we post our pronouns and you still call us what you assume our pronouns to be based off what we might look like, that harms us. It harms us in ways you might not see because we might not show you and it harms our consumers both hearing and Deaf that now see you as someone that isn’t attune to their own sensibility of pronouns usage. This whole career hinges on trust and this is a very easy and affirming step in making this field and all the spaces we touch, just a bit brighter and more accepting.

Con sinceridad y gratitud, 

Benny Llamas, NIC


More resources:

General trans statistics and resources

America’s War on Black Trans Women

1* Forestiere, A. (2020, September 23). America’s war on black trans women. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://harvardcrcl.org/americas-war-on-black-trans-women/

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