The Importance of Pronouns at SCA Health

As part of our diverse and inclusive environment in which teammates, patients and physicians feel they belong, The SCA Pride Teammate Resource Group (TRG) works to educate internal audiences on important issues that impact our world.

What are personal pronouns and why do they matter?

Pronouns are what other people use to refer to us. Often, when speaking of a singular human in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied – such as “he” to refer to a man/boy or “she” to refer to a woman/girl.

Often, people make assumptions about the gender of another person based on the person’s appearance or name. Not only can this be incorrect, it sends a potentially harmful message: that people have to look or act a certain way to demonstrate the gender that they are or are not.

Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment.

How do I share my personal pronouns?

When introducing yourself to a new person or group of people, it is recommended that you state your personal pronouns. During a conversation, it is often in the form of a statement “My name is Oscar and my pronouns are he/him.” In written communication, it is often in the form of a notation after one’s name “My name is Akilah (She/Her),” or in a signature.

Why is SCA Health including personal pronouns in email signatures?

As part of our continuous commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging, SCA Health is encouraging the use of personal pronouns in communication to promote inclusivity. By promoting personal pronoun usage, it invites people to bring their authentic self to work and creates a culture of belonging and acceptance.

No one has ever referred to me by the incorrect pronoun.
Should I still list my personal pronouns?

Communicating your personal pronouns – regardless of your gender identity or experience with pronouns – is encouraged. By sharing your personal pronouns, you normalize the practice, making it less atypical for those whose personal pronouns are different than what someone might assume. Simply put, it’s an easy, meaningful way to be an ally.

How do I ask someone their personal pronouns?

If you don’t know someone’s personal pronouns, don’t assume. Usually it’s safe to use they/them unless the person tells you otherwise.

Try to introduce yourself with your own pronouns so that those you meet know you’re a safe space and that you won’t assume another person’s pronouns. It also prompts them to provide pronouns without it being awkward.

You can also ask that person, as long as you do so politely. Simple ask, “Hey, what are your pronouns?” Knowing a person’s pronouns is not the most important thing in the world, but respecting a person is, so try to approach the question with humility and genuine interest.

What if I make a mistake and use the incorrect pronouns when referring to another person?

Mistakes happen to everyone! What’s most important is that you don’t make a big deal about it. Apologize, correct yourself, and move on.

What should I do if someone else makes a mistake and uses the incorrect pronouns when referring to another person whose pronouns I know?

Politely correct them on the spot or in private depending on the situation. The mark of a true ally is never giving up on the people you want to help. Showing your support for gender non-conforming individuals will go a long way.

What additional resources and links can help me?