I adopted the use of pronouns in my signature block

  • Published
  • By Song Jordan
  • 477th Public Affairs

Years ago, I was coordinating an event with several people through email. A commander replied to my email and addressed me as a man. I was annoyed because I identified myself as a woman in my signature block. Another person, who actually knew me, tried to correct the mistake by addressing me properly in a subsequent email. Unfortunately for me, the commander continued to address me as a man.

My name is Song Jordan. I am a woman. My preferred pronouns are: “She/Her.”

I was born female and have considered myself to be cisgender since childhood. Merriam-Webster’s definition of cisgender is: “of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth.”

My name has confused people for years. The order of my name is often rearranged to, “Jordan Song.” I’ve also been called “Sergeant Song,” “Mr. Song,” and “Mr. Jordan.”

Perhaps males with traditional Irish and English names, like: Kelly and Kim, can relate to being misgendered.

Like many of the Kellys and Kims who have received those names through family tradition, my first name is loosely based on my South Korean mother’s name. In the Korean culture, “Song” is given to females and males. It is also a surname, like Jones or Smith.

The Department of Air Force writing guide, “The Tongue and Quill,” now allows for pronouns to be included in email signature blocks. The LGBTQ Initiatives Team may have originally recommended the changes, encouraging inclusivity within the DAF. I’m glad that it also considered adopting the use of pronouns for those of us with names that are not easy for others to label.

While I was an active duty Airman, years before social media, one of my sponsors recounted their confusion about whether I was a woman or man. She believed that my orders had mistakenly identified me as a woman. Many of her coworkers said the orders were likely to be correct, but she refused to accept that it was not a typo. She said, meeting me was the only thing that convinced her I am a woman.  

Personally, I don’t know if our unit currently includes a person who has identified themselves to be transgender or nonbinary. I have not met an individual at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson who identify as such. Maybe our unit will have a transgender or nonbinary person in the future. Whoever they are, I hope they will feel comfortable to approach me. I may not understand everything a LGBTQ person experiences, but I can relate to being misgendered.


If you’d like to share a personal story about how you were able to overcome obstacles, please contact us, at 477fg.pa@us.af.mil