As Pride Month commences we continue to celebrate the inspiring LGTBQ+ members of the .xyz community. These include cultural producers like Rocca.xyz, who provides a global platform for artists from the LGBTQ+ and East African communities. And designers like Rosenbloomboom.xyz, who envisions a sustainable games industry that welcomes and supports people of all historically marginalized communities. And we have skilled creatives like MightyType.xyz, an architecture student who writes features about social infrastructure and inclusive space. These LGTBQ+ members help define our community with their inspired creativity and innovation. Today we share about another innovative member, one who has taken great strides towards the challenge for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies to navigate the still-evolving communication practices around using and sharing personal pronouns. In this week’s #WebsiteWednesday, we’ll introduce you to a forward-thinking platform helping to make the world of personal pronouns and gender-neutral language more accessible to everyone: Pronouny.xyz.
Pronouny.xyz is a free software platform designed to simplify and promote the practice of sharing personal pronouns and gender-neutral language. It was developed in 2016 by noa, a computer science student at the University of British Columbia, with ongoing updates as recently as March 2021. Pronouny.xyz serves LGBTQ+ people and their allies, helping to normalize the usage of pronouns, minimizing stigma, and lessen the need for an explanation of an individual’s identity or changes therein.
Members create an account on Pronouny.xyz, and then design their profile page to specify their preferred names, gender language, and personal pronouns. They then have the option to invite their friends and social media communities to visit and follow their page, which can be shared directly to Facebook and Twitter, or through the use of a personalized link. One page creator shared their Pronouny.xyz link on Twitter with the message: “I have so many pronouns now – I’m probably gonna add even more as I find more that I like but here are my updated pronouns.” Another shared: “Hey! Welcome to my safe space <3.” Of course, not everyone is equally comfortable sharing information about themselves. To address privacy and safety concerns, members can designate their pages as public or keep them private. They can make revisions to this and all aspects of their page at any time.
The collection of pronouns on Pronouny.xyz includes the growing class of neopronouns, defined as pronouns that do not align with a person’s physical appearance or gender-based name. A 2021 article in the New York Times about the growing use of neopronouns showcased Pronouny.xyz‘s feature of accommodating members with the freedom to use a collection of personal pronouns or neopronouns, as opposed to just one set. Page creators are further able to express themselves by specifying their own customizable options or by choosing from hundreds of preloaded sets.
We found a page creator whose Pronouny.xyz page features 13 preferred pronouns divided into two categories: “Favorites,” such as star/star/stars/stars/starself, and “Others,” such as “it/it/its/its/itself.” Each pronoun selection is clickable, and takes visitors to a page of usage examples for better understanding. In this way, Pronouny.xyz serves as a reference resource for the greater ally community. On the “Names” tab, members can indicate their welcomed names. That same user provided the options “JoJo, Narancia/Nara, Langa, Gon, Josuke.”
On the “Nouns” tab, members can further indicate gender-language preferences by listing particular nouns that are permissible to use, and any they may find to be triggering or offensive. We found a user who indicates a preference for masculine language to be used with him, including “boyfriend, sir, bro, husband, partner, and any masc compliment.” He writes: “I missed some good nouns but just don’t call me anything feminine and I’ll be fine with it unless stated otherwise.” If these selections don’t align with assumptions you might make about this member’s physical appearance or name, the clarification provided by his Pronouny.xyz page does the explaining for him.
We are grateful to Pronouny.xyz for this powerful contribution aimed to normalize the usage of pronouns and respectful, inclusive language. We wish everyone a safe, celebratory, and happy Pride Month. Head over to Pronouny.xyz to learn more or create your own page, and as long as you feel safe doing so, don’t hesitate to express yourself.