How to add your pronouns to your Instagram account (and why you should)

The social media platform just rolled out new tools to normalise pronoun usage.

by Roisin Lanigan
12 May 2021, 10:17am

While it’s thankfully becoming more normalised and popular to display your preferred pronouns publicly on social media profiles, it has, until recently, been left up to the discretion of ourselves, the users, with technology companies sticking to the gender binary identification tools of the past. But now a new tool from Instagram will allow users to choose a variety of different pronouns, which will be displayed automatically next to a person’s username on the app. 

The tool will be available in the ‘edit profile’ section of Instagram’s interface, with users able to add their preferred pronouns just under their display name. These will then appear in grey text ahead of the bio (where many people used to choose to display their pronouns) on the app. Introduced today, the tool is part of Instagram’s “continued effort for users to have more control over their identity”, the platform said in a statement. “Instagram has always been a place where users can express and be themselves.”

The company sees today’s announcement as an extension of that self-expression, and includes a list of pronouns that they have consulted with experts to make as inclusive as possible. It includes everything from he, she, and they, to the less common ze, zie, per, xe fae, ve, vi and e/ey. While the former are already becoming normalised in society — many college and university students are asked to confirm their pronouns in new classes, for example — the move is important in normalising terms that many people may not have heard or used before. 

The feature isn’t available to all users just quite yet — it’s just launched to the US, UK, Canada and Australia so far — but it’s an important step in pushing the conversation around preferred pronouns, identity and the elimination of archaic notions of the gender binary forward. “Instagram is excited to normalise pronoun usage while promoting a more thoughtful community,” the company said of the announcement.

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