Buttons indicating various gender identities that Eastern Maine Medical Center will begin offering in its main and emergency room entrances beginning this week.. Credit: Courtesy of Northern Light Health

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center this week started making pronoun buttons available for staff, patients and visitors who want to display their preferred pronouns.

Buttons displaying he/him/his, she/her/hers, he/they, she/they and they/them/theirs will be available at the Bangor hospital’s main entrance and the entrance to the emergency department, spokesperson Amy Kenney said Tuesday.

The pilot project is part of an effort by the hospital to foster mutual respect for others regardless of background and gender identity, Kenney said. The idea was first proposed by a patient, and staff agreed that the effort could help people of various gender identities — including those who are transgender and nonbinary — feel protected.

EMMC is encouraging cisgender people — those who identify with a gender that corresponds with their sex at birth — to wear the buttons, Kenney said. When cisgender people wear pronouns, it makes it normal for everyone and protects others when they show their own pronouns, she said.

“Using someone’s desired gender pronouns is one of the main ways to show respect for their identity,” EMMC patient experience director Sarah Joy said.