photo of a scatter of pronoun buttons

Pronouns are...

Non-proper nouns used to refer to others in the third person that often imply gender-- for example using she to refer to a woman/girl. Pronouns are used in the English language as a way to refer to another person in public. Pronouns are often assumed based on someone's gender expression, their appearance, or their name. These assumptions may not be correct.  Individuals determine their pronouns. Pronouns are unique to the person. 

Using the correct pronouns to refer to another person is a way to respect them just like calling someone by their name is a way to respect them. Not all people use pronouns and not all languages use pronouns the way the English language does. 


How to use pronouns:

Using pronouns might be a new thing for you and you might want to ask people you've know to share pronouns with you. The best way is to share your pronouns first and ask if they would like to share pronouns with you. Share with them that you would like to make less assumptions about pronouns and gender. People are not required to share pronouns with you. If someone does not share pronouns with you, do your best to not make assumptions about their pronouns based on their appearance. 


When a person shares their pronouns, that is how they want you to talk about them. If a person says they use she/her/hers pronouns you would say for example: "She has a good idea" or "The good idea was hers" 


If a person chooses not to share pronouns with you--do not assume their pronouns based on their appearance-- refer to the person using their name.


Pronoun Mistakes:

The best way to correct pronoun mistakes is to quickly apologize for the error and use the correct pronouns from that moment on.


More About Pronouns:

my pronouns external link      VPDI pronoun project link