What is a pronoun?
- A pronoun is a word that can replace a noun or noun phrase. For example, I, me, he, she, herself, you, it, that, they, etc.;
- We live in a society where we are used to 2 sets of gender pronouns – she/her and he/him.
What is Gender-Neutral / Nonbinary Pronoun?
- These are pronouns that don’t specify whether a person is female or male;
- We cannot always know what someone’s pronouns are by looking at them;
- Gender-neutral or nonbinary pronouns have only become more commonplace in recent years.
Why is it important to respect someone’s pronoun?
- We cannot assume someone’s gender identity (someone’s internal sense of whether they’re male or female, both, or neither)
- It is important to show our respect for someone’s gender identity. Using the wrong pronouns on someone can make them feel hurt and disrespected.
What Gender-Neutral / Nonbinary Pronouns are some commonly used?
- Yes, they/them/theirs can be used in the singular. Many people don’t know about this, but it was popular throughout the history of literature.
- In September 2019, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary added a new definition for they: used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.
- They/them/theirs are popular because it’s easy for people to accept as they are commonly used in our everyday speech
- These are called “neopronouns” (new pronouns);
- Ze is pronounced like “zee” and can also be spelled as zie or xe;
- Hir is pronounced like “here”.
- Traditional he/his or she/her: Alex ate his/her bread because he/she was hungry.
- They/them/theirs: Alex ate their bread because they were hungry.
- Ze/hir/hir: Alex ate hir bread because ze was hungry.
An organization in the US called FORGE has put up together a chart of traditional and gender-neutral pronouns.
Want to learn more?
Check out these Free Online Workshops Trans & Nonbinary 101!
Word of the Day:
Commonplace: ordinary, not unusual