This LGBT+ History Month, let’s get familar with Pronouns.
Everyone has pronouns that are used when referring to them – and getting those pronouns right is not exclusively a transgender issue.
Pronouns are basically how we identify ourselves apart from our name. It’s how someone refers to you in conversation and when you’re speaking to people, it’s a really simple way to affirm their identity.
Using the correct pronouns for trans and nonbinary people is a way to let them know that you see them, you affirm them, you accept them and to let them know that they are in a safe space – It’s really just about letting someone know that you accept their identity. And it’s as simple as that.
She, her, and hers and he, him, and his are the most commonly used pronouns. Some people call these “female” or “feminine” and “male” or “masculine” pronouns, but many avoid these labels because not everyone who uses she, her, and hers identifies as a female person and not everyone who uses he, him, and his identifies as a male person. There are also several gender-neutral pronouns in use. Here are a few you might hear:
They, them, theirs (Xena ate their food because they were hungry). These are fairly common gender-neutral pronouns. And yes, they can be used to refer to a single person.
Ze, hir (Xena ate hir food because ze was hungry). Ze, pronounced “zee,” can also be spelled zie or xe and replaces she, he, and they. Hir, pronounced “here,” replaces her, him, his, them, and their.
Just my name, please! (Xena ate Xena’s food because Xena was hungry). Some people prefer not to use pronouns at all, substituting their names for pronouns instead.
Never, ever refer to a person as “it” or “he-she” (unless they specifically ask you to). Both terms are offensive slurs used against trans and gender nonconforming individuals.