Why I have added “he/him/his” to my e-mail signature

I have recently started receiving e-mails from correspondents in the United States with pronouns listed in their signatures. This practice has started as a way to feel transgender people feel more included, a goal I fully support. In addition, however, it might help those unfamiliar with Russian names realize that Mischa is a male name.

Incidentally, while I personally have little interest in defining my own ethnic or national or other identity in general terms, I am very sensitive about the correct spelling of my name and do not respond well to people thinking they can alter that spelling because my name is “foreign” or just a transliteration from another language anyway. There are two spellings of my name, which reflect my biography and the fact that I publish in different languages. So please note that:

  • the only correct spelling of my name in languages that use the Latin alphabet is Mischa Gabowitsch (not “Misha” or “Mikhail” and not “Gabowitz,” “Gabovich” or the like),
  • and the only correct form of my name in Russian is Михаил Габович — not Миша, which is OK in informal correspondence but not in formal contexts such as publications.