One of the first questions you’ll be asked at the LGBT Center of Raleigh is which pronouns you use.
Why do we ask?
Sharing your pronouns creates a safe, inclusive environment. We can’t always know your pronouns based on your appearance. Although you may think it’s obvious, not all of us enjoy the privilege of being addressed by our correct pronouns without a proper introduction.
But what if you’ve never been asked about your pronouns? Here are the most common:
“She, her, hers” is often used by female-identified individuals and “he, him, his” is often used by male-identified individuals. Many people think of these pronouns as masculine or feminine. But some individuals who use “she, her, hers” and “he, him, his” are not male- or female-identified.
Important: Beware of assumptions based on perceived gender identity or gender expression. Only you can communicate your pronouns and vice versa.
As mentioned above, there are others who don’t identify as binary (male or female) or just prefer different pronouns altogether. Non-binary, gender non-conforming, or gender fluid individuals often use “they, them, theirs.” Kris Cone, a program manager for the Transgender Initiative at the LGBT Center of Raleigh, explains more:
“I’m non-binary and transmasculine and I use “they, them theirs” or “he, him, his” pronouns. I don’t identify as male so “he, him, his” doesn’t always feel right for me. Many people get confused about “they, them, theirs” pronouns. But the most important thing to remember is to just use them.”
Keep in mind that people’s pronouns can change over time. And regardless of how you feel, offer your pronouns and ask the other person for theirs. Using the wrong pronouns can cause someone to experience a feeling known as gender dysphoria, a serious psychological and emotional response to stress.
Introducing yourself with your pronouns can be awkward at first. But if you’re striving to understand the LGBTQIA+ community, respect pronouns and use them well.
If you have questions about pronouns or need clarification, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
published on 3/5/2019 • written by Lex