In English the most common pronouns we use to refer to someone is by she (to a woman/girl) or he (to a man/boy), these associations are not right or accurate all the time.
Doesn’t matter the way you look, what’s your name or which genitals you have, you might not be identified with the pronouns the society gave you when you were born. No one should ever refer to someone for the way they look.
Every day the importance of using the right pronouns to refer to people increases. A study from 2018, explains how using the right names and pronouns on the transgender youth reduces suicides and depression.
How to ask for pronouns?
When you are meeting someone for first time, it’s better to not ask for their pronouns straight away, cause they might think you are asking it for the way they look.
That’s why, it’s better to first introduce yourself sharing your own, encouraging them to share theirs too. If you find yourself in a situation where the other doesn’t want to share their pronouns, don’t put pressure on them to share it and just called theme by their name.
Types of pronouns
The most commonly used are:
- He/Him – His – Himself
- She/Her – Her – Hers – Herself
- They/Them – Their – Themselves (Can be used as a single form too.)
- Zie/Zim – Zir – Zis – Zieself
Other pronouns more uncommon but still used are:
- Sie/Sie – Hir – Hirs – Hirself
- Ey/Em – Eir – Eirs – Eirself
- Ve/Ver – Vis – Vers – Verself
- Tey/Ter – Tem – Ters – Terself
- E/Em – Eir – Eirs – Emself
What if I make a mistake?
That’s fine! Sometimes it can be tricky to not make a mistake with someone pronouns. Just try to use the correct form the next time and if you feel like you might get confused again, just refer them as their name.
If you make a mistake in front of people, apologise later in private cause it could be uncomfortable for the other.
Why pronouns are important?
Referring by others by their chosen pronouns is the minimum the society can do to respect them and their identity.
The process of discovering who you are, what gender and identity defines you can be very stressful and scary.
Often these persons have to deal with different situations that can cause high levels of anxiety, depression, anger and distress. Including dealing with people using the wrong pronouns, the pressure to put a label to your gender when you are not sure, feeling unsupported by family and friends, hiding your identity because of how others might react…
Nowadays, there are many people trying to make the society more equal for LGTBQIA+ people. Everyone deserves to be who they want to be freely without the permission of others, starting with being referred in the right way.