When I began my ministry at Southminster, one of the things congregants and community members likely noticed was the ubiquitous presence of my pronouns. The church website, my email signature, and my staff nametag alike all have a simple (he/him) designation next to my name as one indication of my gender identity.
The use of pronouns during verbal introductions and written communication has become more commonplace within progressive circles in recent years, but I suspect some folks may quietly wonder why – particularly for someone such as myself, who rarely encounters misgendering or being called by the wrong pronouns.
The truth is, as a cisgender person (someone whose identity and gender corresponds with the gender assigned at birth) I am able to take others’ perceptions of my gender for granted. Not everyone can benefit from this same privilege, however. Particularly in an age when the rights and protections of transgender, nonbinary, and genderfluid individuals are at grave risk in local, state, and federal governments, being misgendered can be yet another way that they receive a message that their lives, experiences, and identities are worth less than the lives of others. In other words, becoming sensitive to and inclusive of a person’s correct pronouns is an important matter of justice and inclusion for our time.
I believe that we worship and serve a God whose love knows no bounds, and who claims each and every person as a beautifully beloved creation. As such, I hope to see each person in my midst as exactly who they are: a child of God. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and an ally of the trans/nonbinary community, I choose to identify my pronouns as a small step towards normalizing the same practice for all people. My hope is that, in making space to share my pronouns, those of all gender identities will find a place of safety, inclusion, and belonging that invites them to share their own identities and experiences, too.
I'm a husband, father, news junkie, theatre lover, enneagram enthusiast, bi advocate, amateur foodie, wannabe barista, and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
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