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Probably in an effort to embrace or promote transfeminism, some US politicians now list their pronouns on their twitter pages, e.g. Elizabeth Warren lists "she/her". (It's a big cultural trend to ask and tell it in many US campuses at least in the Democratic-leaning states.)

Do European politicians typically do this too, i.e. list their pronouns on their social media pages? If the answer depends on where the particular politician sits on the political spectrum in Europe, please qualify.

I see that Juncker is not listing it. And neither does Ursula von der Leyen (she does have "Mother of seven" in her brief profile though, but I'm not sure that qualifies as a pronoun [hint].) Hopefully there's some kind of survey on this pronoun declaration issue among (European) politicians.

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    I'm honestly struggling to see how pronouns relate to politics. This is a question about politicians lives not anything else – Alex Robinson Oct 16 at 12:02
  • @AlexRobinson: it's not about their lives. Those pronouns are a political declaration of support for the transfeminist movement. – Fizz Oct 16 at 12:08
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    @Fizz maybe i'm just being cynical, but i don't quite see how some cisgender politicians posting their assigned pronouns translates to support? – Alex Robinson Oct 16 at 12:21
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation about gender-related grammar in various European languages has been moved to chat. – Philipp Oct 16 at 20:28
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    Worth remembering that English has an uncommon relationship with gender in pronouns, and this might be subtly influencing culture: in many other European languages, all nouns have grammatical "gender", and get gendered pronouns accordingly. In particular, with the exception of humans, this is almost always independent of the gender/sex of the individual - for example a dog might always get feminine pronouns, unless a specific male dog is had in mind - so the learned association between gender identity and gender of the pronouns is subtly different in most languages than in English. – mtraceur Oct 17 at 22:45
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Interesting question. I compiled a partial answer for Sweden. Swedish is rather similar to English with regards to pronouns and genders.

I assumed that if there where any pronouns on twitter pages they would be most common for politicians in the Miljöpartiet (Greens), or Vänsterpartiet (Left). Working from the list of people in the Riksdag we have

Party    Total    Found Profiles    Found Pronouns
Mp       16       13                0
V        27       17                0

It's worth noting that there where several rainbow pictures or statements about LGBTQ rights in these profiles.

I also looked up 3 people from Centerpartiet (Center), Feministiskt Initiativ (Feminist Initiative) and Socialdemokraterna (Social Democrats). I didn't find pronouns there either.

So I guess for Sweden at least, the answer would be no, Not typically.

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    Thank you, this is the kind of more in-depth/objective answer I was hoping to get. – Fizz Oct 16 at 2:30
  • -1 for assuming Jimmie's and Ebba's pronouns ...actually, that's probably fair, have a +1 instead. Imho, If anyone were doing this it would the Swedes. – Nathan Cooper Oct 18 at 7:15
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Do European politicians typically do this too

(Emphasis mine)

Politicians who sport a pronoun in their profile are not typical in the US. I'm struggling to imagine how they might be more common in Europe.

If we consider the Democratic candidates for 2020 as a sample, only Warren, Booker, Castro, and Steyer have a pronoun tucked into their Twitter profiles as I write this answer. Biden, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg, O'Rourke, Bennet, Bullock, Delaney, Gabbard, Klobuchar, Messam, Ryan, Sestak, Williamson, and Yang do not. (I'm sure I forgot a few others.)

Even among the more progressive Democrats it's not the rule. AOC and Pressley sport a she/her; Omar and Tlaib do not.

I can't think of any Republican that might boast a pronoun on their profile off the top of my head. But there might be a few outliers that do.

As to the other side of the pond, I sincerely doubt you'll find many European politicians that sport a pronoun either. You could arguably check by compiling a big list of European politicians and going through their profiles for pronouns one by one. If you try this, I'd be sincerely surprised if you find more than a few across the entire continent.

  • Kamala Harris declared them in a interview, in which the host replied with a rather uninspired joke theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/11/… – Fizz Oct 15 at 8:22
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    A sample of 1: I have never encountered such a thing in Austria. – Dohn Joe Oct 15 at 11:11
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    Just checked a handful of Twitter profiles of German Greens. No pronouns anywhere. Also the UK MP for Brighton Pavillion (Green) does not have pronouns in her Twitter either. – Jan Oct 15 at 12:51
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    @Jan: I checked a few twitter profiles from Europe-based transgender office holders (aside: it's really creepy that such a page exists to begin with) and didn't locate much pronouns on their profiles either. – Denis de Bernardy Oct 15 at 13:00
  • @DenisdeBernardy - not to be insensitive, but it's the same as with all other personal info someone decides to make public - it becomes a basis for aggregating/targeting people (most usually, for commercial purposes, see phone directories. Or more on topic see Wiki list of atheist politicians that I once found answering a question here). If someone does not wish their gender/sexuality to be used to profile them,keep it private, don't stick it into public view like it makes you someone special. I completely agree that it's creepy, but totally predictable and easily avoidable. – user4012 Oct 27 at 14:14
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Warning - Polish-centric answer:

TLDR: No one tried this in Poland, it would be politically a bad move and linguistically total horror

  1. In Polish language we indeed have genders: "kubek" (mug) is "he", "klawiatura" (keyboard) is "she", "drzewo" (tree) is "it". To make everything more complicated "dziecko" (kid) is "it", "osoba" (person) is "she".

  2. Gender also influences the ending of verbs or adjectives. Example: "green" can be translated as "zielony" (he), "zielona" (she), "zielone" (it, they). That's in nominative; there is also declination on top of that, which would change the ending even further. If anyone wants to create their own gender, they would have to create all those endings, which are already not very logical and, judging from foreigners' reactions, are already a nightmare to learn.

  3. Unless one is a foreigner (or a Polish who was born abroad), name selection would be validated by Polish authorities. It means the chosen name is deemed suitable by civil servants, not only banning "Adolf" but also ensuring that the name would clearly imply a specific sex. Even if someone changed their sex, then they would still have to select a government approved name, thus any extra explanation would anyway be considered superfluous.

  4. Judging from freshly counted votes in parliamentary election, support for any classical left wing in Poland is below 20%. So I don't see how it is supposed to impress a rather traditional society (from left wing policies we like handouts and free services), especially since a big part of those left wing voters are older electorate which, because of some inertia, tends to vote for former communists.

  5. First name would clearly indicate sex of a person. It's a quite clear and deeply ingrained rule, I've seen already... well... misgendered foreigners because their name sounded like suitable for the opposite sex and no-one thought about checking that. With a second name it would be in over 99% of cases the same, except because of some Roman Catholic tradition it is acceptable to choose name "Maria" (Mary) also for a boy.

  6. With surname it's a bit more complicated. First, as pointed out, majority of surnames have a different variant for male (e.g. Kowalski) and female (e.g. Kowalska). Secondly, if someone is calling a Pole using only surname, then it's considered rude. If someone is "Michał Kowalski", then the right address in nominative would be "Pan Michał" (after adjusting for declination, to start a conversation one would call him "Panie Michale"). Sure, we already got used to idea that when sometimes e.g. international companies address us by surname, they are not intentionally rude, they just only disregard local cultural norms.

  7. Idea of using non-binary gender "we" is generally unknown in Poland, the only case where I saw it, was in historical texts, and it was pluralis maiestatis. "We, from divine grace, the king of Poland...". To be honest, in such case it would be simpler if person insist that his preferred gender is actually "jego wysokość" (His Majesty), because it would be at least linguistically straightforward. Otherwise I would not know should I address such person by singular you "ty", or plural you "wy". If we accept that we go in to plural, in Polish we effectively have linguistically two plural genders "męskoosobowy" and "niemęskoosobowy" (literally male-person and non-male-person), none of which is fully neutral, as male-person would be suitable for mixed groups.

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    Already stated this on meta, that with other languages than English, which may feature gendered nouns, this is a way more effort and is generally considered as useless complexity. Also in British English, the pronoun they (singular) is reserved by the nobility and does not refer to someone undecided about their gender. – Martin Zeitler Oct 15 at 20:41
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    @Schmuddi I think it's annoying in gendered languages, because it is quite confusing and to some degree grammatically incorrect - while most Latin/Hebrew names even have male & female forms, so it's often just about adding or removing a single letter, in order to indicate the gender one wishes to be addressed with... and this is cultural thing, which Americans might lack with ~ 243 years of history. – Martin Zeitler Oct 15 at 21:31
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    @Schmuddi the point probably is that as the grammatical gender is implicit in names, someone who wants to be adressed as a different gender would not have to specifically indicate a pronoun, but they would have to (slightly) alter their name. E.g. if Mr. Kubikowski wants to be addressed as female, then she would have to use Kubikowska as her name. And if they want a nonbinary choice, then that's tough, because they can invent a new pronoun but they can't make up a new grammatical gender with appropriate inflectional system for all the language, so it will always imply "he" or "she" or "it". – Peteris Oct 15 at 22:32
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    Polish speakers declare their gender by how the conjugate nouns. A male would say "I went" as "poszłem", while a female would say "poszłam". There is no third option. – Adam Oct 16 at 3:14
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    @MartinZeitler As a British English speaker, I've never heard of a rule that "in British English, the pronoun they (singular) is reserved by the nobility", and can't see anything at a glance on Wikipedia's page on singular they. Perhaps you're confusing it with the Royal we? – IMSoP Oct 16 at 14:35
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For UK MPs at least, the answer sadly is no.

I wrote a simple script to check bios for each MP as listed on mpsontwitter.co.uk

The results are:

Have pronouns: 0
Out of:        578

You can see my working here: https://github.com/thk123/bio-pronoun-counter

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    This is interesting. +1. However, I do not understand why not specifying the pronoun is a sad thing. They all seem to have a clear picture of themselves and correlated with the given name the preferred pronoun is unambiguous. – Alexei Oct 18 at 4:36
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    It is sad to me because I think it is important for cis-gendered people to list their pronouns to normalise the whole process for trans, non-binary people, and peoples whose pronouns are not what people might assume from their appearance. You can read more about why it is important here: pronounsday.org – T. Kiley Oct 18 at 8:04
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    @T.Kiley, if it is so sad to you (a detail which is irrelevant for the answer), why do you not list your own pronouns in your profile? If you want to see change, you should lead by example. – Reinstate Monica Oct 18 at 9:44
  • I do, but you're right I hadn't added to my SO profile, so thanks for pointing that out :) Unlike MPs, I don't have someone managing my online profiles and I certainly wasn't always aware of the importance of listing pronouns. – T. Kiley Oct 20 at 20:49
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This is unheard of in France.

We have pronouns but I would not even know where to look for a position about what pronoun to use. The official site of the Parliament does not have a field for that (http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/dyn/vos-deputes).

  • The question explicitly refers to social media, e.g. Twitter bios, so the official site of Parliament is not relevant. A quick search shows at least a few users listing them in exactly the same way as in English, e.g. twitter.com/ArseneMind twitter.com/NeonsDemon – IMSoP Oct 17 at 14:27
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    @IMSoP: ah sorry I missed the social media part. This is still a no - politicians do not do that. There are certainly people (such as the ones you linked to) which started to use that as it is fashionable (I am not discussing whether this is good or bad, just that this is a new thing en vogue) but the politicians I casually follow or the ones I had a look at do not list it. This is really not something usual here. – WoJ Oct 17 at 15:41
  • @IMSoP: your answer may be more suitable to something I asked on linguistics SE (because a question not about politicians was deemed off-topic here on politics.SE) – Fizz Oct 18 at 14:21
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Pronoun use as an indicator of support for LGBTQ+ rights is a specifically U.S. thing. Not even Great Britain has adopted the practice.

To be sure, European nations do have controversies about gender-appropriate language, but most European languages don't provide exactly the same background on which to conduct them. For instance, in German the predominant issue is about actor nouns, which are gendered: Arzt is male while Ärztin is female, likewise Professor/Professorin etc. The typical controversy is not "Should we use 'she' to talk about person X?', but 'Should we use 'Professor' or 'Professor (w/m/d)' or 'ProfessorIn' or 'Professor oder Professorin' or... in a job ad?"

  • Could you provide any kind of source or background to your assertion that "not even Great Brita has adopted the practice"? As I understand it, it's not like this is an official thing in the US, so what would it mean for a country (or an island) to "adopt" it, other than individual people talking about it? Where have you looked to compare its usage between the two countries? – IMSoP Oct 19 at 10:38

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