How to get people to use your pronouns correctly
July 10, 2024

How To Get People To Use Your Pronouns Correctly?

Getting people’s pronouns right is important to ensure everyone feels safe and comfortable in our community. This can sometimes feel like unfamiliar territory, so we want to give some tips and advice on how to be as respectful as possible.

For years, many people never considered pronouns … or even knew what they were grammatically-speaking.

Recently, however, it has become an increasing trend to indicate your own pronouns – whether in your email signatures at work, or your Instagram bios. Many cis-gendered people (who identify as the gender they were registered at birth), who would never usually think twice about their pronouns have been encouraged to indicate them anyways. The idea is that if we normalise this practice, it is more inclusive for individuals who may have pronouns that differ from their sex assigned at birth.


Using correct pronouns for respect


Respecting Trans Issues.

Unfortunately, many cis-gendered people will never understand the frustrations that often come with pronouns and getting others to use them correctly.

If someone changes their pronouns, for example, they may want to tell people about it. And it’s simple enough to say to them, “I just wanted to tell you that I’ve changed my pronouns to __”.

However, the trans and gender non-conforming community is often faced with people continuously getting these pronouns wrong, either by accident or on purpose. For more information on the different gender identities, check out ‘How to Support Trans Loved Ones


How to correct your mistakes when using pronouns


What to Do When You Get Someone’s Pronouns Wrong.

If you have known someone for years by certain pronouns, and then they change, it can be confusing at first and mistakes can happen. However, it is important to try, as the person affected is likely struggling a lot more than us (who only need to get their pronouns right).

If an accident occurs, it can be remedied quickly. Apologising for making a mistake is a good start. But don’t go on and on about it, or it can cause an embarrassing situation.

We should always try our best to get others’ pronouns right from the start. If you’re uncertain, ask the person what pronouns they go by or just referring to them by their name to avoid any risk of mistake. Either approach ensures that you are more respectful of your transgender or gender non-conforming friends.


How to share your pronouns


How to share or disclose your pronouns.

Normalising sharing your pronouns demonstrates that you are an ally, and it helps to build a society where everyone is aware of each other’s pronouns, so misgendering becomes much less of a risk. For cis-gendered people, it costs them nothing to disclose their pronouns, as this is something they have never had emotional difficulties with.

As allies, we may be able to defend someone who is being misgendered, rather than stand by and let them deal with the situation alone. If you are present when such an incident occurs, it would be incredibly helpful to remind the person in the wrong of the importance of getting pronouns right and that they owe the trans / non-conforming person that level of respect.

Sharing your pronouns as part of introducing yourself to people may seem unnatural at first, but if more people do this it will allow others to feel more comfortable. In a professional setting, stating pronouns at the start of meetings can also make it clear how everyone wishes to be referred to. Some people identify as several different pronouns, for example ‘she / they’. This may be easier to remember as there are a few options to refer to the person as.

Referring to someone as ‘they / them’ may feel odd at first, but with repetition this is likely to become more natural. As they say, practise makes perfect!

Other easy ways to disclose your pronouns is to include them in your email signature, on your business card, or in your social media bio. And there are lots of cute pronoun pins or necklaces available to start the conversation off right. And putting a pin on your bag or lanyard means that you don’t even need to think about it. It’s always there.

Being misgendered, whether unintentional or not, is an often-painful experience for trans / non-conforming individuals, which makes an ally’s role in advocating for these individuals' rights even more vital. The power of allies can breed a more inclusive environment where the LGBTQ+ community can feel safe and respected … true equality.


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