Instagram introduces new feature to allow users to choose their pronouns

Now users can choose between a large range of descriptive terms including they/them

Instagram users now have the option to select their preferred pronouns. Courtesy Instagram
Instagram users now have the option to select their preferred pronouns. Courtesy Instagram

Instagram has introduced a new feature that will for the first time allow its estimated one billion users to select their preferred pronouns.

The online image sharing platform announced on Tuesday that it has introduced a new feature so that users “around the world can share their pronouns more easily.”

The new feature now enables users to add up to four pronouns from a list that goes beyond she/her, he/him and they/them. Also available to users are the pronouns xe/xem/xyr, ze/hir/hirs, thon/thons, ey/em/eir, fae/faer/faers as well as many others. With up to 78 different identifications now being referred to, this move by Instagram will allow many people to describe themselves accurately.

To activate, users must go to Edit Profile and click Pronouns and the list will then appear. If, however, users wish to add other, missing pronouns, Instagram provides an option to request new variations be added.

The issue of using the correct pronoun has grown in prominence recently, with many people feeling uncomfortable not being able to dictate how they are addressed. In response to these concerns, Instagram noted in the app Help Centre that "when having a conversation, people use pronouns to refer to someone without using their name. You can add up to four pronouns to your Instagram profile to help others refer to you."

While these pronouns will be openly visible on a user's profile, for those under the age of 18, Instagram will automatically restrict pronouns to be visible only to followers.

In 2019, singer Sam Smith changed their pronouns to they/them, while The Perks of Being a Wallflower actor Ezra Miller adopted the same pronouns the year before. In 2020, the comic and actor Eddie Izzard declared she was changing her pronouns to she/her.

In its announcement, Instagram explained that the availability of the new pronouns field is limited so far, being “available in a few countries, with plans for more." However, no further information was given on which countries will be offering the service, nor a timeframe for a wider roll out.

Published: May 12, 2021 02:58 PM

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