Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare is arguably one of the greatest romance stories in history. It is the story of two star-crossed lovers destined for heartbreak because they were not supposed to fall in love. One of the most famous scenes in the play is on the balcony when Juliet says, ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ (Act 2, scene 2).
The Montagues and Capulet’s were enemies, so the forbidden romance of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet added to the complexity of young love and to what the perceived meaning of the quote meant at that time. As we think about names today, we recognize an emotional attachment to our names for one reason or another. So, would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?
Well, if we never knew the name of the flower emitting such a lovely fragrance, chances are, we might not care what the name of the flower was in that context because the scent remains the same. However, today, words matter more than anything. And people are more sensitive about how their names identify them.
Conversations around gender pronouns are gaining momentum. And whether you agree with using them, you cannot ignore the gravity of one’s self-identification as it relates to a person’s name. I have what some might say are three first names. Marsha Natalie Lindsay, but it is my name, and I love it! My parents explained my name, and it is forever a part of who I am. So, I respect the fact that many people in the LGBTQ+ community want to feel respected and accepted by whatever they choose as their identifier.
As an advocate for self-expression, I find myself wondering when and if I have inadvertently made someone uncomfortable by not addressing that person correctly. So, to help put not only my mind at ease, I identify as she/her/hers and reflect my gender pronouns on my social media profile and now on my professional email.
I know who I am and feel comfortable with my gender pronouns. Many may perceive it as not necessary, but if I can in any way break down perceived barriers and be more approachable, I am happy to share my gender pronouns.
I encourage everyone to learn more about gender pronouns and consider sharing yours. And if you choose not to, do not discourage someone else from sharing theirs.
To learn more about gender pronouns, here are some resources:
Microsoft Word – gender neutral pronouns.doc (forge-forward.org)
Marsha N. Lindsay
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer