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Preferred Gender Pronouns

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J Capecchi

on 23 August 2013

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Transcript of Preferred Gender Pronouns

Preferred Gender Pronouns
So you're wondering which pronoun to use to refer to someone!...
The only way to be exactly sure what someone's PGPs are is to ask them.
But I can't ask them!
Really?! Give it a try...
They told me they prefer...
Great! Now you know which pronouns to use to refer to them!
They/them/their are valid pronouns to use to refer to one person. If this bothers you, remember that it probably bothers the other person more to be constantly misgendered. This is not about your preference, it is about theirs.
they told me to just use their name
Yay, now you know that this person prefers not to use pronouns! Use this person's name to refer to them, and refrain from pronouns-- even gender-neutral ones
ze/zir, or another set of "invented pronouns"
If you are unfamiliar with ze, thon, hu, per, or another set of pronouns that someone asks you to use, that is okay. Feel free to ask for a demonstration on correct usage, or to read up more about "invented pronouns." Though these pronouns are nonstandard, language is fluid and can adapt to include greater diversity.
If you really can't ask them, it is best to use a set of gender-neutral pronouns like they/them/their, or to just use their name.
But what if they don't present as the gender that they would like me to refer to them as?
It doesn't matter. Not everyone's gender identity matches their gender expression. They know more than you do about how they identify.
But what if they're trans*?
So what? Refer to them however they prefer. If you are referring to their life pre-transition, continue to use their current preferred gender pronoun (unless they tell you otherwise) and current name.
What if they told me something different earlier?
It doesn't matter if someone changes their PGP every day, continue to refer to them using their most recent PGP. Similarly, if a third party has told you someone's PGP, but they themselves say something different, trust the individual who is self-identifying.
But it's haaarrrrrrddddddd...
[whiny voice]
Sure, getting the hang of PGP's might be hard, but you know what else is hard? Being constantly misgendered. Experiencing discrimination and oppression. Using PGP's is one of the most basic way you can support and respect your fellow human beings.
Hope this helped! Gender is a complicated thing, but you can make a lot of people's lives a lot easier just by having a simple conversation with them and actually listening to them.
Footnote: I personally prefer the pronouns they/them/their, and because these pronouns are gender neutral I use them throughout this flowchart.
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