Instagram's New Pronoun Feature
As recognition of gender diversity has become more widespread, the need for inclusive spaces has increased. Notably, social media platforms have strived to make their spaces supportive of all existing people, regardless of how they define themselves. In an effort to create a more gender-inclusive platform, Instagram has created a new feature for users’ profiles that allows them to express their gender identity.
According to CBS News, as of May 11th, users are able to display their preferred pronouns under their display name. They announced the news on their Twitter account, stating “Add pronouns to your profile. The new field is available in a few countries, with plans for more.” The feature is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.
According to CBS News, users can choose from a list of pronouns, including but not limited to, he/him, she/her, they/them, ze/zir, ve/vir, and many others. To prevent users from adding irrelevant or inappropriate content, users must choose from the alloted list. If a user wishes to use pronouns not included on this list, they can submit a request form through the online help center. To add pronouns, simply go to your profile, click “edit profile,” select the “pronouns” option under the display name, and type in your preferred pronouns. Users can also choose if they want to share their pronouns publicly or only with those who follow them. The feature is entirely optional and can be altered at any time.
The response to this new feature was overwhelmingly positive. In a statement to TODAY, CEO and president Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) commented, “Pronouns matter, and adding inclusive pronouns to a contact form is more than just a demonstration of allyship. Research has shown that recognition and respect of our pronouns can make all the difference for our health and well-being― especially when it comes to LGBTQ youth.” Many users on Instagram and other social media platforms expressed their approval and appreciation for the added feature. According to TODAY, many users made statements pushing for more social media platforms to adopt a similar feature regarding pronouns.
Although seemingly a small addition to the Instagram platform, the impact of this decision has been significant to many individuals, including members of the LGBTQ+ and its allies. For many, pronouns are an outlet for self-expression and defining one’s self-identity. This feature furthers the ongoing social movement of creating inclusivity for those with different gender identities. By allowing their users to share their preferred pronouns, Instagram aids in normalizing the simple but important act of recognizing somebody else’s pronouns.