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Instagram pronouns
Photo: Instagram

Instagram adds pronouns to its user profiles

The photo app takes a small but essential step for inclusion

By Andy Kryza
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For years, social-media users have been squeezing their preferred pronouns in their bios. The practice became so prevalent that social networks like dating app OKCupid and networking site Linkedin began allowing users to select their pronouns without sacrificing precious space atop their profiles. Now, Instagram is joining parent company Facebook in allowing users to display their pronouns in a dedicated location. 

Instagram announced the new feature on Twitter yesterday. Currently, the function is limited to the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, with plans to launch in more countries soon.

Selecting a pronoun is simple: Just log into your profile page and select “edit profile,” which brings up your personal information, including an empty field for pronouns. The selected pronoun will then automatically appear on the user's profile.

According to Mashable, the list of pronouns includes 41 different options, among them “she / her/ hers,” “they/ them / theirs,” “xe/ xem/ xyr” and “fae / faer.” The tech site also reports that Instagram worked with LGBTQ organizations including GLAAD, PFLAG and The Trevor Project to compile the list. 

Selecting a pronoun remains optional, and users are allowed to combine pronouns to best suit their own identities. Pronouns can also be hidden, and users can opt to only allow followers to see them.  

The app notably does not allow users to type in their own pronouns, instead stating that the list will continue to evolve. This is presumably to prevent the Gina Caranos and drunk uncles of the world from inserting “joke” pronouns into the fields in an effort to mock or protest the evolution of the discourse surrounding personal identity. (Earlier this year, Lucasfilm cut ties with Carano —and axed a Mandalorian spinoff — when the former MMA star changed her profile to read “beep / lop / bloop,” among other controversial and inflammatory social media behavior). 

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