If you're unsure as to which pronouns to use and are worried about misgendering, bookmark this concise guide for a quick go-to reference.
What pronouns are there?
- She/Her - someone who identifies as female
- He/Him - someone who identifies as male
- They/Them - someone who identifies as gender-neutral or trans
- Xe/Xir and Ze/Zir - someone who identifies as non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer, trans, and/or doesn't identify with the gender binary
Which ones should I use?
Some people wear badges showing their gender identity and some people have stated it in their social media bios or e-mail signatures. This makes it easy to know how to refer to them, and the pronouns stated should always be respected.
If you're addressing a group of people, a good term to use is 'folks'. You can also use other terms like 'people', 'y'all', and 'everyone' to ensure that you're using inclusive language.
However, if you aren't sure, you can:
- Ask them their preferred pronouns - this is probably the easiest and fastest way to find out
- Listen out to see how others refer to them - if you aren't confident enough to ask, you can keep an open ear for the pronouns others use
- You can use gender-neutral pronouns (eg They/Them) - however, be aware that this could result in misgendering
- Refer to them by name instead of using pronouns - if you still aren't sure or perhaps find yourself accidentally misgendering
What if I make a mistake?
Everyone makes mistakes. If you accidentally misgender someone, simply apologise and correct yourself.
It's important to respect the correct use of pronouns in order to create an inclusive and welcoming environment whether that's at work, uni, at the pub - anywhere. By using someone's correct pronouns, you will encourage others to act the same way and respect the identity of everyone.
If you would like some more in-depth information surrounding pronouns, GLSEN has a great article you can take a look at.