Pronouns & Gender Inclusive Language

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are words used to refer to a person other than their name.  In English, conventional binary pronouns he/him/his or she/her/hers imply information about the gender of the person being referred to and is a common way of communicating assumptions about a person's gender.  These assumptions are not always correct.  Some people go by the non-binary, gender-neutral pronoun set; they/them/theirs.  

Using a person's self-determined pronouns at their request, rather than assuming their pronouns, is a way of validating that we all have the right to live our truth, to share our truth, and to be granted safety, respect, and dignity in doing so.  It is a respectful and inclusive practice to use neutral pronouns, they/them/theirs when referring to any person whose pronouns you do not yet know until you are able to find out.

What are neo-pronouns?

A neopronoun can be a word created to serve as a pronoun without expressing gender, like ze/hir/hirs, xe/xem/xyrs, ey/em/eirs to just capture a few.

A neopronoun can also be a so-called "noun-self pronoun," in which a pre-existing word is drafted into use as a pronoun

Why do we share our pronouns?

How to add your pronouns to your email signature:

Want to learn more?

  • The Pronoun Workshop by the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention, Resistance, and Support
  • The Inclusive Language Workshop by the Writing Support Desk