Instagram is stepping up its inclusivity by adding a function that allows users to add up to four pronouns to their profile, the company announced Tuesday. These pronouns can be displayed publicly or only to a user's followers.
To add your pronouns, all you have to do is select “Edit Profile,” and under “Name” and “Username,” there’s a new space to put in your pronouns. When you start typing them in, suggestions like “she,” “her,” “they,” “his,” and even “ey,” “xe,” “ze,” “xyr,” “pers,” “fae,” and “mers” will appear, and you can select any of those. If your pronoun isn’t listed, you can add it in your bio.
In total, there are 41 options, according to Mashable, and more will be added. Instagram worked together with GLAAD, the Trevor Project, and PFLAG in coming up with a list of pronouns. Instagram is limiting the pronoun options to prevent trolls from putting in joke pronouns or offensive words.
After selecting your pronouns, they’ll appear in gray next to your name when people visit your profile. For users under 18, pronouns will automatically only be visible to followers, adding a safety barrier for youth who may be closeted or experimenting with new pronouns.
"We are giving people more tools to express themselves on Instagram," a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told Mashable. "Sharing pronouns has been widely adopted by our community, and with this feature we hope to normalize the adoption further."
Currently, the feature is available in the United States, the U.K., Canada, and Australia, but it will roll out in more countries soon.
Pronouns are an important tool for not just gender expression, but comfort and safety. Being misgendered in public spaces can put trans people in danger and is in itself an act of violence. Furthermore, for many, online spaces are the only ones where they can truly express their gender, and allowing users to state their pronouns gives them more freedom to do that.
This puts pressure on other social media platforms, like Twitter and TikTok, to make the move as well, making their platforms safer for trans users. Many people already add their pronouns to their bios on those apps.