Pronouns

What are pronouns, why do they matter, and what do we do when we make a mistake? Find information and resources to help you on your learning journey.

What Are Pronouns?

Pronouns are words we use in everyday language to refer to ourselves or others. They can be an important way to express your gender identity. ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘she/her’, ‘he/him’ and ‘they/them’ are some examples of pronouns. This is not an exhaustive list of all pronouns and each individual should be asked what pronouns they identify with.

Pronouns are used in place of a proper noun (like someone’s name). We use pronouns most often when referring to someone without using their name.

She / Her / Hers

He / Him / His

THEY / THEM / THEIRS

Ey / Em / Eirs

Ze / Hir / Hirs

Xe / Xim / Xirs

Why Pronouns Matter

When you use the right pronouns for someone, you’re accepting them for who they truly are and how they want to be identified. It’s all about creating an inclusive environment and showing respect for their gender identity. Remember, never assume someone’s pronouns! This can result in misgendering, which happens when you accidentally or on purpose use the wrong pronouns for someone. It can totally happen by accident, but it can still have a hurtful impact. So, let’s all be mindful and strive to use the correct pronouns to support and show respect to others.

Misgendering and Making Mistakes

Apologize, Briefly and Succinctly

A protracted apology can draw unwanted attention, and make someone feel uncomfortable rather than reassured.

Correct Yourself

If you have used incorrectly gendered language you should restate your sentence with the correct gendered language.

Move On With What You Were Doing

Making your mistake the focus of the conversation can prolong someone’s discomfort with being misgendered.

Be Proactive

Take steps to avoid making the same mistake, or similar mistakes, again in the future - Unlearn gendered assumptions and practice.

Further Resources

Looking for more information on pronouns? Here are some key resources from our resource directory.

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