Pronouns: Showing respect and inclusion

People are sharing their pronouns in introductions and social media profiles. Here's why.

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Thursday, July 8, 2021
Pronouns: Showing respect and inclusion
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People are sharing their pronouns in introductions and social media profiles. Here's why.

You may have noticed that people are sharing their pronouns in introductions, and adding them to social media profiles and email signatures.

"We know definitely of 'he/him/his,' 'she/her/hers,' and 'they/them/theirs.' We also have things like, 'ze/zir/zirs,'" says Joel Gemino, Youth Services Manager at the LGBTQ Center in Long Beach, California.

There are many different choices when it comes to pronouns, and using someone's preferred pronoun is a sign of inclusion and respect.

"For someone to feel good about a certain pronoun, there's a very personal understanding around it," Gemino added.

TikTok content creator Shane Donovan (@shanexplains), who is gay, stated, "My pronouns are 'he/him/his' and honestly for me personally, the identification, it really doesn't hold much of a factor. To me, it's not the most important. But for others it is."

We are all familiar with "he/him/his" and "she/her/hers" but many people who identify as non-binary choose to use "they/them/theirs."

Non-binary is an umbrella term that can include identities such as genderqueer, agender, or bigender that fit outside of man-woman binary roles.

"I'm trans and I use "they/them" pronouns, because to me they're the most gender neutral pronouns," commented Izzi Kessner, a circus artist and content creator.

There are also other gender neutral pronouns like "ze" and "hir." "Ze" replaces "she/he/they" and "hir" replaces "her/hers/him/his/them/theirs."

Some people go by interchangeable pronouns like "he/him/she/her," "they/he," "they/she" or just one set like "they/them."

Others prefer not to use pronouns at all, using their name as a pronoun instead. So how do you know what pronoun to use?

Gemino continued, "One of the things that you can do - if you're comfortable - is to say for example, 'Hi. My name is Joel and I use he, him and his pronouns.' And what that does is open up a door for others to share the same."

Donovan added, "If somebody makes a mistake with a pronoun, I think it's just important to accept the fact that 'Oh, my mistake, what are your pronouns,' or just use the pronouns somebody is asking you to use."

Non-profit organization GLSEN works to create a better world for LGBTQ+ students, and they provide more information about pronouns here.