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Here we will continue to compile helpful information and resources on the importance of pronouns and how to use them. If you have any further questions or feel that there is information that is missing/incorrect, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at [email protected].
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Pronouns are used to refer to a person in place of using that person’s name. In many languages, pronouns are used to signal formality and respect for people of higher family, professional, or social status, and informality and intimacy with people with whom we share closer, more intimate connections.
Pronouns are also used to signal a person’s gender. In English, the most common pronouns used to refer to someone in the third person are:
Many other sets of pronouns have been created or drawn from other languages. Some of those sets of pronouns include:
There are other pronoun options not listed here.
The words we use to talk to and about a person can show that we respect, honor, and value that person. By using the correct pronouns to talk about someone, you show that you not only respect and value that person, but also that you respect the right of all people to be seen, valued, and respected.
As a general rule, it’s important to ask people what pronouns they use instead of assuming based on how a person looks, acts, or sounds.
Most often, individuals do not have a “preference” with their pronouns; they simply have pronouns. Using “preferred” as a qualifier can indicate that respecting someone’s pronouns is optional.
To avoid the misconception that respecting someone’s pronouns is optional, do not use “preferred” to describe pronouns.
If you accidentally use the wrong pronouns for someone, correct yourself, apologize, and move on. If you hear someone else use the wrong pronouns for someone, it may be appropriate to correct that person immediately or to follow up privately with that person to make sure they know what pronouns to use.
Recognize that it is exhausting for trans and gender non-conforming folks to constantly have to correct those they are interacting with to ensure they are not misgendered. It is your responsibility to ensure that is not their reality.