Instagram expands inclusivity with new pronouns feature

Users of the social media app can now attach their preferred pronouns to their profiles


Photo Jennifer Le

Screenshot of an Instagram profile displaying the new pronouns feature to include they/them/theirs pronouns. They/them pronouns are among the current list of available pronouns on the app with the new update.

Jennifer Le, Online Managing Editor

Exciting news for those running out of character space in their social media bios.

Instagram’s most recent update is now allowing users to add their preferred pronouns to their profiles. The feature appears similar to the Page Category tag that was introduced back in 2018 when business profiles became a thing, in small gray letters next to the user’s name.

The update was first announced on Instagram’s official Twitter account on Tuesday.

Currently, only the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia have access to the update, but the company plans to expand this feature further around the world.

Once the app is up to date, users can add their pronouns to their profile by going to “Edit Profile” and clicking “Pronouns.”

The screen that can be accessed when clicking the edit profile tab. (Photo Jennifer Le)

This new feature allows users to add up to four pronouns from the app’s list. The app already includes an extensive list of pronouns that includes the commonly used he/him, she/her and they/them. They also include xe/xem/xyr, ze/hir/hirs, thon/thons, ey/em/eir, fae/faer/faers and more.

Users have the option of displaying their pronouns publically to all or only to their followers. For users under 18, the app has an automated setting to have it displayed only to followers.

“I love the new [pronouns] feature because I think it’ll help people feel more casual about including their pronouns, especially for people who are a part of communities who make acknowledging your pronouns an unusual thing when it’s really not,” Lauren Yoakum (’23) said.

Before the update, social media users included their preferred pronouns, cisgender people included, in their profile bios. The gesture was in movement to be inclusive of members of the transgender community.

“Including pronouns in [your] bio is incredibly important not only to help other people but in terms of your own mental health because being constantly misgendered and called the wrong pronouns can be extremely taxing for someone,” Miles Griggs (’23) said.

Instagram is among many websites making changes to allow people to select their preferred pronouns. After President Joe Biden took office back in January, the White House’s official website updated its contact form to include gender-inclusive pronouns and prefixes.

Facebook has had the option of pronouns for user profiles since 2014 but is limited to only he/him, she/her and they/them. This limit poses an issue for users of less commonly used pronouns and neopronouns. In comparison, a form has been made by Instagram Help in order to extend their feature to all users and a person can request the addition of their pronouns.

“It’s something important to do, especially if you are cis[gender] since it normalizes discussion and presentation of pronouns in an age where trans people of any and all degrees are finally becoming welcomed and celebrated in society,” Payton Heckman (’23) said.