Introduction to Pronouns

Isabel Lee


What are pronouns? Well everyone has them, and they’re super important to someone’s identity! Flip through these slides to find out how to respect people’s pronouns, and to make a safer environment for trans and gender diverse individuals through normalising pronouns!

What are pronouns
Everyone has them! Pronouns are a longstanding part of the English language, used to refer to nouns within a sentence. In relation to people, pronouns can include he/him, she/her, they/them - or neopronouns like ze/zir, fae/faer, and more.

Some people use multiple pronouns. Ask them their preferred pronouns, and use those primarily, but make sure to respect their other pronouns by using them sometimes! For example, for someone with she/they pronouns, you could say “She’s over there! Yeah, let’s go over to them.”
Why are they important?
Pronouns are an important way of identifying oneself in relation to gender, and as our understanding of gender broadens and becomes more nuanced, our understanding of other people’s pronouns must also evolve.

Although ‘traditionally’ people would identify with only one set of binary pronouns (e.g. she/her or he/him) identities such as being non-binary, genderqueer, genderfluid, or otherwise gender diverse have revolutionised the use of pronouns. Pronouns are an important way of expressing and affirming one’s identity in the world, and having your gender acknowledged by the people you come into contact with.
About presentation
Gender presentation can vary, no matter your gender, and is generally described as being feminine, masculine, or androgynous. Someone can identify as a cisgender woman, and still present very masculine. Someone can identify as non-binary, and still present very feminine. This does not affect their gender identity - clothes should not be gendered, nor should they affect your assumptions of someone’s gender!
What Can You Do?
This is why it’s great to introduce yourself with your pronouns. Even if your pronouns are congruent with your presentation, it helps normalise the asking of pronouns and creates a safe environment for people who are gender diverse. Not everyone in the world is onboard with the idea of diverse pronouns, so it is even more paramount to establish that pronouns are relevant to everyone and, most importantly, cannot be assumed based off of someone’s presentation. Introducing yourself with your pronouns also provides others the perfect opportunity to let you know their pronouns!
What Can You Do?
You can display your pronouns in the following ways:
  • Introduce yourself Wear a pronoun badge or sticker on your hospital badge (if safe to do so)
  • In your Instagram bio (there is now a designated pronoun section!)
  • In your Zoom name (You can add your pronouns on your profile so they always show up) In your email signature
  • What Can You Do?
    Other ways you can support the gender diverse community is to:
    1. Follow gender diverse creators Some personal faves include @corpusren, @alokvmenon, @ajclementine @reidcaelum @withlove_august @pinkmantaray @dineaesthetics @genderfenderbender
    2. Buy from small businesses run by gender diverse people @megemikoart @sockdrawerheroes
    3. Donate to, and support organisations that support gender diverse people (e.g. Transgender Victoria, Intersex Human Rights Australia, Zoe Belle Gender Centre)