"They" Pronouns

They are a writer and wrote that book themself. Those ideas are theirs. I like both them and their ideas.”

WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT YOU GO BY "THEY" PRONOUNS?

It means that if you refer to me using a pronoun instead of my name that you can use "they." For example, if Dana goes by "they" pronouns, you could say "Dana went to the library" or "They went to the library."

Often, people make assumptions about the gender of another person based on a person’s appearance or name. Then, they apply those assumptions to the pronouns and forms of address used to refer to a person.

Whether or not these assumptions are correct, the very act of making an assumption can send a potentially harmful message -- that people have to look a certain way to demonstrate the gender that they are or are not.

If someone shares their pronouns with you, it’s meant to disrupt the culture of making assumptions, and to provide you with the information you need in order to refer to them appropriately.

Just as we generally have names we go by, we also tend to have pronouns that we want to be referred to by. The name or pronouns someone goes by do not necessarily indicate anything about the person’s gender or other identities. Names and pronouns tend to be publicly shared, because they are part of the language commonly used to refer to people. However, identities tend to be private (i.e. many people don't proactively share their gender just as many people don't proactively share their race, class, or sexuality with mere acquaintances)

Although the pronoun "they" tends to be thought of as gender neutral (and many people find pronouns to be an important affirmation of identity), a person who goes by "they" could actually be a man, a woman, both, neither, or something else entirely. Again, because people's genders tend to be private, the sharing of pronouns should not be taken as an invitation to ask for potentially private information about someone's gender.

A person who goes by “they” pronouns is generally referred to using “they” and associated pronouns (only in the third person), as in this example:

They are a writer and wrote that book themself. Those ideas are theirs. I like both them and their ideas.”

Please note that although “they” pronouns here are singular and refer to an individual, the verbs are conjugated the same as with the plural “they” (e.g. “they are”). Also note that in this singular pronoun set many use “themself” rather than “themselves,” although both are typically acceptable.

The use of the singular "they" to refer to an individual has a long history in English literature, and has also recently been more explicitly included in modern dictionaries and styles guides both as appropriate when referring to an individual whose gender is unknown, but also for referring to an individual who wishes to be known by "they" pronouns.

Please note that some people go by multiple sets of pronouns or by certain sets of pronouns among only certain audiences (just as some people have different legal names from the primary names they go by, or special names they use in certain spaces, such as pen names or performer/artist names). If in doubt, ask.

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:

This website provides much more explanation, examples, and information. See the appropriate section for more:

WHAT ARE PERSONAL PRONOUNS AND WHY DO THEY MATTER?

HOW DO I USE PERSONAL PRONOUNS?

WHAT IF SOMEONE MAKES A MISTAKE AND MISPRONOUNS SOMEONE ELSE?

HOW DO I SHARE MY PERSONAL PRONOUNS?

HOW DO I ASK SOMEONE THEIR PERSONAL PRONOUNS?

WHAT ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND LINKS CAN HELP ME?