PRONOUNS

 

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Preferred Gender Pronouns

 

Wikipedia: Gender Pronouns

Gender Neutral Pronouns: My Personal Pep Talk

UWM LGBTQ Resource Center: Gender Pronouns

Preferred Gender Pronouns: Guide for Faculty, Staff, and Allies

Gender Neutral Pronoun Blog

Use of Preferred Gender Pronouns Expands Trans Acceptance

Guide to Using Gender Neutral Pronouns

Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools: Preferred Gender Pronouns

Being a Trans Ally: Preferred Gender Pronouns

Non-Binary: Pronoun Discussion

Washington Post: The Pronoun They

Gender Pronoun Resources

 


Gender Neutral Pronouns
 

In general, a pronoun is a word that refers to either the people talking (like I or you) or someone or something that is being talked about (like she, it, them, and this). Gender pronouns (like he and hers) specifically refer to people that you are talking about.
 

Gender neutral pronouns (or gender inclusive pronouns) are used to show respect to individuals and groups whose gender identity is non-binary, non-conforming, or fluid.  These pronouns are called preferred gender pronouns (PGP). 

 

A "preferred gender pronoun" (or PGP) is the pronoun that a person chooses to use for themself. For example: If Linda's preferred pronouns are she, her, and hers, you could say "Linda ate her food because she was hungry."
 

She, her, hers and he, him, his are the most commonly used pronouns. Some people call these "female/feminine" and "male/masculine" pronouns, but many avoid these labels because, for example, not everyone who uses he feels like a "male" or "masculine."

 

A gender-neutral pronoun or gender-inclusive pronoun is one that gives no implications about gender, and could be used for someone of any gender. People with non-binary gender identities often choose new third-person pronouns for themselves as part of their transition. They often choose gender-neutral pronouns so that others won't see them as female or male.

 

 

For people who identify as transgender, style guides and associations of journalists and health professionals advise use of the pronoun preferred or considered appropriate by the person in question. When dealing with clients or patients, health practitioners are advised to take note of the pronouns used by the individuals themselves, which may involve using different pronouns at different times. This is also extended to the name preferred by the person concerned. LGBT advocacy groups also advise using the pronouns and names preferred or considered appropriate by the person concerned.

 

Why is it important to respect people's PGPs? You can't always know what someone’s PGP is by looking at them. Asking and correctly using someone's preferred pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.  When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric.  It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else's gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive.

 

 

The use of gender neutral pronouns typically involves the replacement of gender-specific pronouns (he, she, him, her, his, her) with pronouns that are more generic or inclusive. While there are many variations in use, here is a popular example:

 

He/She   -   Ze or Zie  (pronounced Zee)

Him/Her  -   Zem or Zim  (pronounced Zem and Zim)

His/Her   -   Zir or Hir (pronounced Zeer and Heer)

 

Ze and Hir are popular alternate pronouns that are gender neutral and preferred by some transgender people. Pronounced zee and heer, they replace “he” and “she” and “his” and “hers” respectively. Alternatively some people who are not comfortable with and do not embrace he/she pronouns, may use the plural pronoun “they/their” as a gender neutral singular pronoun.

 

Mx. is an alternate title for Mr., Miss, Mrs., or Ms. that is gender neutral and preferred by some transgender people.

 

Here are some additional options for expressing gender neutrality in the use of pronouns:

 

She Her Her/Hers Herself
He Him His Himself
Ze or Xe Hir Hir/Hirs Hirself
Ze or Xe Zir or Zyr Zir/Zirs Zirself
E or Ey Em Eir/Eirs Eirself or Emself
Per Per Per/Pers Perself
Hu Hum Hus/Hus Humself

 


Pronouns, Inclusivity, Respect

 

Candace Gingrich, HRC's Associate Director of Youth & Campus Engagement, says that "using preferred gender pronouns is less about extending courtesy than of practicing basic human dignity."

 

If you are part of an LGBT support group or a gay-straight student alliance, one way to make sure that you are being inclusive and welcoming for transgender or other gender nonconforming people is to incorporate PGPs into your regular intro activities. If you start every meeting by having those present share their names, ask them to share their PGPs as well.

 

For example: “My name is Jasmine, I’m a sophomore, and my PGPs are ‘she’ and ‘her’.” “Hi, I’m Diego. I’m 17, a senior, and my preferred gender pronouns are ‘he’, ‘him’, and ‘his’.”

 

In social interactions, simple questions, like these, will communicate respect and acceptance:

 

“What pronouns do you use?”
“How would you like me to refer to you?”
“How would you like to be addressed?”
"Can you remind me which pronouns you like for yourself?"
"My name is Tom and my pronouns are he and him. What about you?”
 

Buttons and stickers are useful tools for groups to use.  Name tags (the peel and stick kind) can be utilized at conferences, meetings, and social events to clarify pronouns.

 

Hello My Name is.....

My Preferred Pronouns are....

 

In some organizations and offices, staff members may incorporate their PGPs in the signature block of their e-mail messages, as in this example:

 

Sally Smith

Director of Counseling Services

University of Anywhere

123 Main Street, Anywhere USA 12345

555-1212 / smith@email.com

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 


 

A note like this one could be included in the footer of an e-mail or business correspondence:  "Self-expression and self-identification are among my professional and personal values. One way to practice these values is to share preferred gender pronouns. My name is Samuel and I use she/her pronouns. What pronouns do you use?"

 

Some people prefer that you use gender neutral or gender inclusive pronouns when talking to or about them. In English, the most commonly used singular gender neutral pronouns are ze (sometimes spelled zie) and hir. “Ze” is the subject pronoun and is pronounced zee, and “hir” is the object and possessive pronoun and is pronounced heer. This is how they are used: “Chris is the tallest person in class, and ze is also the fastest runner.” “Sarah is going to Hawaii over spring break with hir parents. I’m so jealous of hir.”

 


LGBT Language Resources

 

Wikipedia: Gender Pronouns

Gender Neutral Pronouns: My Personal Pep Talk

UWM LGBTQ Resource Center: Gender Pronouns

Preferred Gender Pronouns: Guide for Faculty, Staff, and Allies

Gender Neutral Pronoun Blog

Use of Preferred Gender Pronouns Expands Trans Acceptance

Guide to Using Gender Neutral Pronouns

Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools: Preferred Gender Pronouns

Being a Trans Ally: Preferred Gender Pronouns

Non-Binary: Pronoun Discussion

Washington Post: The Pronoun They

Gender Pronoun Resources

LGBT on Wikipedia
Polari: Gay Slang
Gay on Wikipedia
Lesbian on Wikipedia

Dictionary of Queer Slang and Culture
Homosexuality on Wikipedia

Univ California Riverside
Northeastern Univ
Univ of Connecticut
UAB Safe Zone
GLAAD
UQ Union
Safe Schools Coalition
Michigan Tech
Parent Services
Advocates For Youth

 

 


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ALGBTICAL

Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama