Sharing Your Pronouns
HOW DO I SHARE MY PERSONAL PRONOUNS?
The vast majority of people go by the pronouns sets “he/him” or “she/her.” A small but increasing number of people use “they/them” pronouns or another pronouns set -- sometimes simply because they don’t want to go by pronouns with a gender association (just as some folks go by “Ms.” whether or not they are married, because they don’t think their marital status should be a relevant issue), and sometimes people use pronouns that aren’t associated with one of those two most common (binary) genders because they are nonbinary (i.e. people who are neither exclusively a man nor exclusively a woman -- e.g. genderqueer, agender, bigender, fluid, third/additional gender in a cultural tradition, etc.).
Please note that many nonbinary people identify with the word “trans” (short for “transgender”), but that some do not; and many people who are trans are also men or women (binary). All people, whether they are trans or not trans (cisgender), whether they are men or women or nonbinary -- all people can choose to go by whichever sets of pronouns they are most comfortable with.
So, a great way to create and normalize space for people to share their pronouns is first to share your own. You can do this by saying, for example, “Hi, my name is Farida and I go by the pronoun ‘she’” or “I’m Yoshi and I’m referred to by ‘he/him’ pronouns.” See also the various pronoun sets people might use to describe themselves.
Sharing your own pronouns is a great idea, but it isn’t requisite. Keep in mind, however, that there is a privilege of appearing in a way that fits both your gender and the pronouns that many people associate with your gender. In other words, if people’s assumptions are correct, never having to name those assumptions begins to normalize the very process of making assumptions (which for others may be incorrect). Thus, sharing pronouns is a great way to disrupt the normalization and privilege of assumption.
If you are attending an event, you can write on your name tag the pronouns that you go by in the corner, near your name. Sometimes the pronoun alone is sufficient (e.g. “she”), though sometimes it is helpful if there is space to write “pronouns” first before listing which pronouns you go by (e.g. “Pronouns: he or they” -- note that some people are open to be referred to by multiple different sets of pronouns, as in this example).
If you are writing an email, you could include your pronouns in your signature line. You could also include a link to this website or another resource that helps people reading your email to understand why you are listing your pronouns. (e.g. write: “My Pronouns: they/them ~ See www.mypronouns.org to learn more.”)
You can also share your own pronouns by sharing a link to the pronoun you go by. Here are some of the more common ones:
If you use business cards, you can also include your pronouns, usually near or below your name, for example:
Jamaal Johnson (pronoun: he)
There is no singular way to list and share pronouns. Many people say, for example, “she/her/hers” or “she/her” or just “she” and it’s generally understood that this refers to a larger set of pronouns (e.g. that includes “herself”) without having to list every one of those pronouns. You'll also find on our resources page links to additional resources and items that one can get to assist in sharing pronouns.
When you share your pronouns, you may find that you get questions about what that this means or why you are sharing your pronouns. It may be very helpful to review the other sections of this website so that you will feel comfortable explaining the purpose of sharing pronouns.
Now that you understand how to share your own pronouns, let's discuss how to ask other people their personal pronouns.