Pronouns are words we use to describe ourselves and refer to others. Most often, a person’s pronoun is aligned with their gender identity (whether they identify as a man, woman, both, or neither). There are Gendered Pronouns, like he and she, and Gender Neutral Pronouns (gender free) or All-Gender Pronouns (includes all genders). Sometimes pronouns are abbreviated as GP (Gender Pronoun) or PGP (Preferred Gender Pronoun).
Download a PDF of our Pronouns Handout
Learning new pronouns can be hard, but it is a lot easier that you think!
Tips for Learning Pronouns:
- Don’t assume: Sometimes you can guess pronouns based on how someone looks, but there is no way to be sure.
- Ask: “Nice to meet you. What pronoun do you go by?” OR “What pronoun does Dan use?” OR “What’s your GP?”
- Use names or descriptions: “Hillary went to the store & Hillary forgot milk.” OR “The person in the red hat said…”
- Use all gender language: Replace “ladies,” or “young man,” with “everyone,” or “this person.”
- Ask for pronouns in programs and meetings: “Let’s introduce ourselves with our name, pronoun, and age.”
- Think about safety: If the place is crowded or might be unaccepting, ask in private or wait until later.
- Mistakes can happen: If you make a mistake, correct yourself. Try not to draw a lot of attention to the mistake.
- Ask for patience, be patient: Let people know you’re trying and understand if someone reacts to your mistake.
- Make it a personal priority: Correct pronouns increase safety & acceptance. Be diligent and attentive.
- Practice, practice, practice!: The more you think about pronouns, the easier it is to learn them.
- Gender Neutral Pronoun FAQ
- T-Vox Gender Neutral Pronouns
- Gender Sensitive Language
- Gender Neutral Pronouns Wiki
Written and compiled by JAC Stringer, MSW (2011), Heartland Trans* Wellness Group.
Gender Neutral Pronouns Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_pronoun
Gender Neutral Pronoun Blog http://genderneutralpronoun.wordpress.com/
Grammar Girl: yo as a Pronoun http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-yo-pronoun.aspx