“What are Your Pronouns?” A Guide to Common Pronouns and Their Usage

by Allison Marie Turner

Respecting a person’s pronouns is vitally important to creating inclusive environments for transgender people. Beginning a conversation by introducing yourself and sharing your pronouns is an easy way to begin a conversation about pronoun usage, and encourages other members of the conversation to follow suit!

This is a great practice to take up, even if you are cisgender. Assuming a stranger’s pronouns, or assuming a stranger can know your pronouns based on your appearance contributes to transphobia. No person can “look” like they use a certain pronoun. If a person tells you their pronouns and you are confused about how to use or pronounce them correctly, it is okay to ask for clarification.

Here are some examples of gender pronouns and how to use them! This is not a complete list of all pronouns that people might use.

They / Them / Their They rode their bike to school today by themself. The bike is theirs.
Using the first letter of a person’s name as pronouns  (Person’s name is Taylor) T rode T’s bike to school today by T’s self. The bike is T’s.
Ze / Hir / Hirs Ze rode hir bike to school today by hirself. The bike is hirs.
Ey / Em / Eir Ey rode eir bike to school today by emself. The bike is eirs.
Using a person’s name as pronouns  (Person’s name is Quinn) Quinn rode Quinn’s bike to school today by Quinn’s self. The bike is Quinn’s.
She / Her / Hers She rode her bike to school today by herself. The bike is hers.
Ze / Zem / Zir Ze rode zir bike to school today by zemself. The bike is zirs.
Xe / Xem / Xyr Xe rode xyr bike to school today by xemself. The bike is xyrs.
He / Him / His He rode his bike to school today by himself. The bike is his.


Want more information on why pronouns matter? Check out this website to learn more on how to create an inclusive environment by using someone’s correct personal pronouns.

Website: https://www.mypronouns.org/what-and-why

Allison Marie Turner is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and mass communication and women’s and gender studies. She is a 2015 Summer Fellow for Campus Pride. 

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