Fuel Your Imagination

The Right Pronoun

At the heart of this new app is a small but integral gesture. That of acknowledgement and respect for the way non-binary individuals choose to identify.

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor, BITE

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The concept of using other personal pronouns besides 'he' and 'she' is nothing new. Indeed, both Chaucer and Shakespeare often used the word 'they' in their writing. But in modern parlance that is typically binary, many people and businesses find the shift a difficult one to navigate.

Which is why the launch of a new app, The Right Pronoun feels so timely and important. The app's function is to convert gender pronouns allowing for content to become inclusive, respectful and inoffensive.

Created by Rich Miles, Creative Director at Therapy, the app allows the user to copy and paste any kind of text, whether email, report or internal document; two lines or 20 pages. The app then highlights all gender pronouns used and can convert these personal pronouns to the appropriate term.

Miles, who recently spoke to BITE as part of our Agency Leader's interview series, has worked tirelessly with the LGBTQ advertising network PrideAM to change attitudes in the media and lobby brands to better represent the LGBTQ community in their ads. The Right Pronoun, developed with consultation from trans charity Mermaids and Brand Advance agency, comes as an extension of his work in promoting respect and inclusivity.

"It started from me having to write an email to someone who used they/them pronouns and not knowing whether I was doing it right or wrong. They said, oh don't worry we get misgendered all the time. And I thought that's not good enough," explained Miles.

The app is not targeted at non-binary people but aimed at the generic white straight male or female who runs a big business and wants to be inclusive but isn't sure how.

Richard Miles

So, after some research he realised there was nothing out there at the time that could offer any help or guidance when it came to language. He revealed, "I thought I've got the capital to do something about it even though it doesn't directly relate to me."

The power of the Right Pronoun is in its simplicity. As Miles has said, it uses technology that already exists to create a tool designed to make it easier for businesses and people to use the right language when addressing either their colleagues or their friends. 

As with any change, often people's greatest fear with anything new or different, especially when it relates to identity and sexuality, is that they'll get something wrong. This app ensures that people can at least make an active effort in respecting the wishes of those who identify as non-binary.

As Miles explained, "The app is not targeted at non-binary people but aimed at the generic white straight male or female who runs a big business and wants to be inclusive but isn't sure how." The fundamental reason for the app's existence is, according to Miles, to start a conversation, one that centres around respect and inclusivity.

As for Miles, the next step is encouraging businesses and individuals to put their pronouns in their email signatures. He reveals that people who identify as non-binary are often "the forgotten group within the LGBTQ community." At the heart of the app is a small but integral gesture. That of acknowledgement. As Miles says, “all The Right Pronoun does is say I understand difference.”

Visit the Right Pronoun's website to find out more and download the app. Share your pronoun via Instagram to help make other people feel comfortable enough to share theirs.