Using pronouns is showing respect for the transgender community. It makes you an ally of the trans community. Using pronouns keeps us from making assumptions about others. We want to recognize people for how they want to be identified not by some preconceived notion of who they should be. Pronouns describe one’s identity—they don’t define it.
Pronouns are he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs. They/them/theirs is used by people that don’t identify with either gender. Remember gender identification is a continuum.
It is not ‘preferred’ pronouns. It is pronouns. Preferred pronouns imply ‘a like to use’ pronouns versus these are my pronouns.
The best time to ask for pronouns is the introductions of a meeting or gathering, e.g., Hi my name is ___________ and my pronouns are ________________.
· Pronouns may be uncomfortable at first, but it is not a time for jokes. It is insensitive and phobic to make jokes about pronouns even if it is just because you are uncomfortable with using pronouns at first.
Educate yourself on your pronouns before a meeting, so you don’t fumble when giving your pronouns.
-If you are male and feel comfortable with that identity, your pronouns are he/him/his. If you are female and comfortable with that identity, your pronouns are she/her/hers.
-If you are struggling with your gender identity it’s OK to say ‘I prefer not to use pronouns, but would rather be referred to me by my name.’
-If you are gender neutral, your pronouns would be they/them/theirs.
· We are trying to normalize pronouns. Get comfortable with just saying ‘my name is ___________ and my pronouns are _____________. Don’t draw attention to the pronouns. Just state your pronouns and move on. We are striving for a world in which asking a person’s pronouns is as normal as asking a person’s name, or where they work, or what their favorite color is.
If you are a meeting, conference, or get together and pronouns are not being used in introductions, take the initiative and introduce yourself with your pronouns and ask that everyone follow suit.
Everyone in the room needs to introduce their pronouns although their gender may seem obvious. Do not single out people who look gender non-conforming and only ask their pronouns. You don’t know who is transgender.