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Instagram Lets Users Choose from Four Different Gender Pronouns   Karly Domb Sadof/Associated Press
Instagram is demonstrated on an iPhone Monday, April 9, 2012, in New York. Facebook is spending $1 billion to buy the photo-sharing company Instagram in the social network's largest acquisition ever. Instagram lets people apply filters to photos they snap with their mobile devices and share them with friends and strangers. (AP Photo/Karly Domb Sadof)

Following pioneers like OkayCupid, Lyft, and Facebook, Instagram has introduced a new feature letting users display their preferred gender pronouns on their profile. According to the LGBTQIA Resource Center pronouns are “linguistic tools that we use to refer to people”.

“Everyone has pronouns, not just transgender, nonbinary, or intersex people, notes The Diversity Center of North East Ohio.  “Keep in mind that some people may use more than one set of pronouns to refer to themselves (e.g., ‘she/her’ and ‘they/them’). In these instances, you can use either set when referring to this person.”

What You Need to Know About Instagram’s New Pronoun Feature

Funnily enough, Instagram released the announcement not on Instagram but on Twitter. According to the two-part post, the new feature gives users the option to add up to four pronounces and remove them at any time. Pronouns can be listed either publicly or privately to followers only, according to a demonstration of the feature by AFP in the United States. Your elected pronoun(s) will be displayed in the gray text next to your profile name above your bio. If you are under the age of 18, this setting is turned on by default.

“We are giving people more tools to express themselves on Instagram,” a Facebook spokesperson (Facebook, as you may remember, bought Instagram in 2012) told Mashable. “Sharing pronouns has been widely adopted by our community, and with this feature, we hope to normalize the adoption further.”

The new field is available in a few countries, with more countries to come, according to Instagram.

How to add pronouns to your Instagram profile:

To add these new gender pronouns to your Instagram profile, follow the following steps:

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  1. Open the Instagram app and tap the profile tab in the button bar at the bottom of the screen.
  2. From your profile, click “Edit Profile and click “pronouns”.
  3. In the “Add your pronouns” field in the next screen type your preferred pronoun, and choose from the suggested pronouns that arise. You can select up to four suggested pronouns.
  4. Toggle the button below to make your gender identity private (or available to only your followers) or public (available to anyone who visits Instagram.

Once you are finished, hit “done”

What Pronouns are Available?

Currently, Instagram includes 41 supported pronouns, and offers a pronouns request page accepting new suggestions. The social media platform consulted with various LGBTQ organizations when compiling its list of pronouns, including GLAAD, The Trevor Project, and PFLAG.

Currently, available pronouns options on Instagram include:

  • co / cos
  • e / ey / em / eir
  • fae / faer
  • he / him / his
  • she / her / hers
  • mer / mers
  • ne / nir / nirs
  • nee / ner / ners
  • per / pers
  • they / them / theirs
  • thon / thons
  • ve / ver / vis
  • vi / vir
  • xe / xem / xyr
  • ze / zie / zir / hir

Other Apps that Offer Multiple Gender Pronoun Options

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As noted, other apps like Facebook and Lyft have also introduced the option to include different pronouns in user profiles.

Even the Biden administration is following suit, updating the White House website with a contact form with the option to choose their pronoun from a drop-down list.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has praised Biden’s decision, saying in a statement: “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 wellbeing—especially when it comes to LGBTQ youth.”

Watch: Did You Know Lesley Gore Was an LGBTQ Activist?

A lover, fighter, and freelance writer, María Cristina hunts down buzzworthy stories by day and trains to be a championship kickboxer by night. As a full-time digital nomad, she's lived everywhere from Chicago to Mexico City to Medellín to Bali -- but Austin, Texas will always be home.
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