Everyone Welcome: Gender Inclusion at Seward Co-op

At Seward Co-op, we are committed to a culture of inclusion where everyone feels welcome, respected and celebrated. As part of this commitment, we are asking staff, owners and customers to use gender-inclusive and affirming language. As part of this effort, you may notice some new signage in the stores and at the café. The signs simply say:

“If you are unsure of someone’s pronouns, please use gender-neutral language and/or a person’s name when talking to them. We appreciate you!”

What do we mean by “Gender Inclusive?”

Using gender-inclusive language is one way that we can show respect and avoid making assumptions. For example, instead of using gendered language such as “ladies,” “gentlemen,” “sir” or “ma’am,” try instead using phrases like: “Good morning, folks!” or “Thanks, friend.” Personal pronouns (words like she, her, he, him, they and them) can be tricky in the English language because their use—whether correct or incorrect— can reflect assumptions about a person’s gender expression. Making an assumption about someone’s pronouns can feel disrespectful and hurtful. If you’re not sure about someone’s pronouns at the co-op, just use that person’s name or change your sentence a little bit.

For example, instead of: “Thanks for the recipe suggestion, Sam! (turning to person next to you) He always has a recipe for each new veggie in season.”

Try this: “Thanks for the recipe suggestion, Sam! (turning to person next to you) Sam always has a recipe for each new veggie in season.”

Co-op staff have ongoing relationships with both co-workers and community members—so it often makes sense to share our pronouns and/or ask others which pronouns they use. When someone shares their pronouns with you, please use those pronouns. Again, this is a way to show respect.

If you make a mistake and misgender someone, apologize, move on, and do better next time. If you’d like to learn more about why this is important, read tips on sharing and asking about pronouns or find other resources, www.mypronouns.org is a great place to start.