A big positive this year in Houston was the inclusion of pronoun ribbons available FROM FIRST at pit admin (and the diversity of the pronoun ribbons, not just he/she/they - I nearly cried when I saw a student wearing a ze/zim/zirs ribbon).
One thing I would like to see more of from the FIRST community and volunteers is making it standard to include your pronouns when making introductions on-mic. I would like to send a recommendation to FIRST that they change event scripts and sponsor reads to include this, and I would like to show them community support.
The justification: (shouldn’t need this, but you know how it goes)
GAs, emcees, various volunteers during drivers meetings, guest speakers, etc. I’ve done this multiple times so far (as a field sup and during WFFA presentation) and have gotten a lot of compliments, thank yous, and “that was brilliant, wish I had thought to do that” comments, yet I have yet to hear of this happening widespread and haven’t heard it at any events I’m attending. I’m sure it happens elsewhere, but considering I haven’t seen anyone raise a stink (or a compliment) about it on CD yet, I’m assuming it’s not happening much.
People on-mic are in a position of prominence and importance, and hearing pronoun introductions coming from people in that position makes a powerful statement. It makes it clear to nonbinary and trans folks that they have an ally. It helps show attendees that the event is intended and expected to be inclusive. Paper statements of inclusivity are largely seen as performative, but taking steps to change the event is evidence that the statements are not just performative.
There’s a separate conversation that could be had about introducing yourself with your pronouns in everyday conversation, and I would really not like that discussion to happen in this thread. I think that what I’m suggesting is different because it does not have the same potential for “awkwardness” as it could when beginning a conversation, which is what I think deters a lot of people from doing it in everyday conversation. People on-mic are not having a conversation - there is no way or need for the people they are speaking to to respond to it immediately. What follows the introduction - cheers, or right into a script - is not going to be affected by it. Having someone prominently introduce themselves with their pronouns helps normalize the practice and make it more likely to happen in everyday conversation.
“Good morning everyone, my name is Kara, I use she/her pronouns, and I’m your field supervisor this weekend”
“Good morning robot fans! Give it up for your emcee, who uses she/her pronouns - Nikki!”
TL;DR: It takes two seconds. It’s easy. It benefits the individuals that need the assurance and validation that they matter. Can we do it??