Jump start the learning curve by educating yourself
Don’t make your Transgender and Non-binary peers do all the work in pronoun education. You can jump start the overall learning curve by educating yourself and boosting our reach with others around you.
Without realizing it, we use pronouns all the time. We use these pronouns in speech and writing to take the place of people’s name and many other proper nouns. One example lies in self-references: Every time you use ‘my’ or ‘mine’ you’re using a pronoun! Often, when speaking of someone in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied (think he/she). These associations with gender are where our language can become triggering or divisive for folx whose gender expression doesn’t match their gender identity. Using someone's correct pronouns is one of the simplest ways to show your respect for their identity.
Join the Pride Center and CSUN’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee as we aim to advance the importance of using everyone's correct pronouns and strive to make CSUN more inclusive.
Why Are Pronouns Important?
Pronouns are important for many reasons! These reasons stem from how divisive pronoun assumptions can be for many individuals. Let’s break down how this can be so instantly harmful.
- You can’t know what someone's pronouns are by looking at them. Often, we make assumptions about the gender and pronouns of another person based on their appearance or name. These assumptions aren’t always correct.
- The act of assuming (even if correct) sends a potentially harmful message that people must look a certain way to demonstrate the gender that they are or are not.
- When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make the individual feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or hurt. This can determine within the first few minutes if they will feel respected at CSUN or not.
- Sharing our pronouns and correctly using other people’s pronouns sets a tone of inclusion. It can truly make all the difference, especially for new community members who may feel particularly vulnerable in a new environment.
- Many people may be learning about pronouns for the first time, so this will be a learning opportunity for the CSUN community. You will be setting an example for your peers.
People may choose to use a variety of pronouns, including neopronouns. Some people will use more than one set of pronouns or use no pronouns at all.
Neopronouns tend to refer to pronoun sets developed from the 20th century (or sometimes 19th century) to today. Neopronouns are not indicative of gender and could be used by genderfluid, nonbinary, transgender, or cisgender individuals.
Please note that there are no “male/female,” “man/woman” or “feminine/masculine” pronouns. All pronouns can be used for any gender.
Below is a list of some commonly used pronouns and how they are used. This is not an exhaustive list. It is good practice to ask which pronouns a person uses.
|Ey/Em/Eirs||Ay, Em, Airs||Ey studied.||I texted em.||Eir phone.||That is eirs.||Ey loves emself.|
|He/Him/His||Hee, Him, His||He studied.||I texted him.||His phone.||That is his.||He loves himself.|
|Per/Per/Pers||Pur, Pur, Purs||Pur studied.||I texted per.||Pers phone.||That is pers.||Per loves perself.|
|She/Her/Hers||Shee, Hur, Hurs||She studied.||I texted her.||Her phone.||That is hers.||She loves herself.|
|TheyThem/Theirs (singular)||They, Them, Thairs||They studied.||I texted them.||Their phone.||That is theirs.||They trust themself.|
|Ve/Ver/Vers||Vee, Vur, Vurs||Ve studied.||I texted ver.||Vis phone.||That is vers.||Ve loves verself.|
|Xe/Xem/Xyrs||Zee, Zem, Zeers||Xe studied.||I texted xem.||Xyr phone.||That is xyrs.||Xe loves xemself.|
|Ze/Hir/Hirs||Zee, Heer, Heers||Ze studied.||I texted hir.||Hir phone.||That is hirs.||Ze trusts hirself.|
|Ze/Zir/Zirs||Zee, Zeer, Zeers||Ze studied.||I texted zir.||Zir phone.||That is Zirs.||Ze trusts zirself.|
|No Pronouns; Use Name||Taylor studied.||I texted Taylor.||Taylor’s phone.||That is Taylor’s||Taylor trusts Taylor’s self.|
Don’t panic over pronunciation! While above are some common ways to pronounce these pronouns, there are many variations, so it is best to ask how the individual pronounces them. Remember, if someone trusts you enough to share their pronouns with you, you should feel comfortable asking for clarification if you need it! Here are some examples of how to ask:
- “Hi, Sam, I noticed the pronoun “x-e” on your nametag and I want to make sure I am pronouncing that right. Can you tell me how you pronounce it?”
- “Alex, I heard you say you use ze/zir pronouns and I want to make sure I’m using them correctly. Can you give me an example of how I use them?”