More than ever people are using different pronouns for their identities and for some people this can be a bit of a mind field. So we thought we would give a bit of a basic guide around the pronoun world.
What is a Pronoun?
Let’s start off with the basics. A pronoun is any word that can replace a noun or a noun phrase (I, you, them). Pronouns are specifically used for when talking about a person (she, he, his, her, him). A Non-Binary Pronoun is where it isn’t associated with the gender of the person. There are a few different non-binary pronouns, for example:
- They, Them, Theirs.
- Ze or Zie (pronounced ‘zee’), this replaces he, she and they.
- Hir/Hirs (pronounced ‘here’) replaces her / hers, him / his, or them / theirs.
- Some people don’t like to use pronouns, and would like just their names to be used instead.
The English language doesn’t actually have a non-binary third person pronoun available or that is commonly used. Non-binary pronouns are created in the general interest of gender fairness.
So Why are Pronouns so Important?
Asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns is one of the most basic ways of showing respect for their preferred gender identity. It may not be easy to tell what a person identifies as just by looking at them; that’s why it’s becoming more and more acceptable to start a conversation with “Hi, do you have a preferred pronoun?” If you just guess someone’s pronoun it could make them feel disrespected, dysphoric and invalided.
So although this may be uncomfortable to ask at first, actually inquiring about someones preferred pronoun shows that person that you want to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities.
Misgendering is the term used for when you accidentally or intentionally use the wrong pronoun towards that particular person.
So using someones pronoun correctly is important not only for that person but just to acknowledge the existence of other genders.
Just a disclaimer, there are over 100 other pronouns in the English language. We are just using the most common ones as examples in this blog post, this does not mean we see them as any less significant or important, so if you want to know what the other pronouns are see the list of 100 pronouns.
So remember: Ask, respect and acknowledge others all gay long.