The Communications Network is committed to providing a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment for all, regardless of race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, or religion. 

Before, while, and after we gather in Austin for ComNet19, we want to acknowledge and respect our attendees’ diverse gender identities. We know that traveling for trans and gender non-conforming folks can be a challenge, particularly to a state without protections like Texas. 

As Tonya Mosley said, “Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a practice, and equity is a goal.” Part of what we hope to accomplish in Austin is prompt conversations and share lessons learned to start moving the needle in a meaningful way in a state that has a lot of room to grow in this arena. So we ask you to join us in making sure everyone feels welcome and safe.

The goal of this inclusion resource page is to provide information and resources on how to create and maintain an inclusive environment that respects diverse gender identities and to encourage everyone to use the personal pronoun buttons provided at ComNet19. 

As a show of The Network’s commitment to inclusion and belonging, we are introducing pronoun buttons for your name badge at ComNet19. Pronoun buttons will be available for pickup at registration and will be available for pickup throughout the conference. Please choose the button or buttons that best represent your pronouns. Thank you to the Arcus Foundation for their generous support. 

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are the words we use to refer to a person when not using their name. 

Why should I add pronouns to my name badge?

Having pronouns on your badge  – or if a person chooses to tell you their pronouns – is simply letting you know how you can accurately refer to colleagues, without you having to make any assumptions. 

Using the right pronouns is an important way to show one another respect, and you can’t always tell what someone’s pronouns are just by looking at them.

Wearing a pronoun button is an easy way to share your identity, and let others know that you will respect theirs.

Why is it important to get someone’s pronouns right? 

Using someone’s correct pronouns is one important way to show that you respect their identity.

How do I refer to someone when I don't know their correct pronoun?

Simply just address them by their name.

How should I correct myself and others when we use the wrong pronouns? 

Be sure to apologize and correct yourself if you mispronoun someone. If you realize after the fact, apologize to the person in private and let them know you’ll make every effort to get their pronouns right in the future. It is important that the conversation does not become centered on your  feelings after making a mistake (such as difficulty or confusion you feel), but instead on validating the gender identity of the person you are apologizing to.

How can I continue to create and maintain an inclusive environment that respects diverse gender identities?

We encourage you to include your pronouns on your organization's website, bio, and email signature; when introducing yourself in any context, but especially when in front of an audience, tell the audience your pronouns; if you are introducing someone else before a talk, ask them what pronouns you should use in your introduction. 

We also encourage you to read Nico Calvo Rosenstone’s piece in Stanford Social Innovation Review for ways you can take further actions to create a more equitable and welcoming work environment for trans and gender-nonconforming people.

(Please note that no resource is perfect or comprehensive, including this page. We encourage you to look at the resources below and to get to know and speak with trans people and gender-nonconforming people whose lives are impacted by pronouns more profoundly than for most.)

Resources on Pronouns:

Resources from The National Center of Transgender Equality:

Resources on Trans Inclusion:

Resources on Gay & Lesbian Rights:


Here's our guide on what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use new ones.