The use of gendered pronouns helps us to recognise someone's gender identity. To show respect and equality to all people, inclusive language should always be used when meeting someone new as it allows their identity to be affirmed. Here is a list of some of the pronouns that are widely used, but there are heaps more which people can identify with.


She/her/hers can include people who identify as girls or women but are not limited to female people. Just because someone appears to be feminine, doesn't mean they use she/her/hers pronouns.


He/him/his can include people who identify as boys or men but are not limited to male people. Just because someone appears to be masculine, doesn't mean they use he/him/his pronouns.


They/them/their can be used as a gender-neutral singular pronoun, representing a person's identity outside of the gender binary. While many consider 'They' to be plural the word can also be singular and is in fact grammatically correct. Famous authors throughout history such as Jane Austen and Shakespeare have used the singular word 'they.'

Ze/hir/hirs, ze/zir/zirs

Ze/hir and ze/zir can be used as gender-neutral pronouns and originate from the trans community. They can refer to people who identify as non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer, trans and people who don't identify with the gender binary.

They/she, he/they

Some people identify interchangeably with the pronouns, she/they, he/they, they/she or they/he. Someone who uses both pronouns can identify as a woman and non-binary or a man and non-binary. You can use a mix of the two pronouns when addressing the person and when in doubt just ask them which one they prefer.

Use the person's name

Some people prefer not to use pronouns, may use different pronouns depending on the setting or sometimes we may not know what the person's pronouns are. If this is the case, you can use the person's name.

There are heaps more pronouns which people can identify with and the best way to find out is by asking. If you make a mistake and use the wrong pronoun, simply apologise and use the correct one. Try and avoid binary-gendered language such as 'ladies and gentleman' and instead use inclusive language such as 'everyone' or 'colleagues'.

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Information sourced from: The 519, Health ND, Interact and LGBTQIA Resource Center

Image credit: Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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