Understanding there is a difference between a person's sex, gender identity, and gender expressions makes the use of pronouns important. Pronouns are the words taking the place of the noun used to describe a person, in the way a person wants others to use when talking to or about them. Asking someone "What pronouns do you use?" is a great way to hospitably see, name, and care for LGBTQIA+ people.
Here are a few helpful ways to use pronouns
- Model using pronouns in introductions by sharing "Hi, my name is ___ and my pronouns are ____."
- Ask people what their pronouns are when you meet them. “I want to make sure I am using the proper pronouns for you, which pronouns do you use?”
- Add them to the signature of your emails.
- Add pronouns to your social media accounts.
- Make space for people to add their pronouns to name tags for events and gatherings.
- If you make a mistake and someone corrects you, thank them for teaching you their pronouns.
For a sample template of name tags with pronouns, click HERE!
How to use Pronouns
In a sentence, pronouns take the place of an individual's name. Here are a few ways pronouns can be used in conversation:
"She enjoys traveling. Her favorite thing to do is travel. Those tickets from trips are hers."
"He enjoys cooking. His favorite thing to do is cook. The recipe I'm using is his."
"Ze (pronounced with a long "e") is a teacher. Zir (pronounced like the word "here" with a "z")favorite subject to teach is math. The lesson plans are zirs."
"Xe (pronounced with "z" consonant sound and long "a") likes to bike. I called xem to go b (pronounced like the word "them" with a "z"). That bike is xyrs (pronounced like "theirs" with a "z")."
"They like to paint. I like to paint with them. The paintings are theirs."
For continued education, check out https://www.mypronouns.org/
Intentional welcome to all people and families matters. As Lutherans, we believe every human being reflects the Divine image. That is why the use of pronouns matters so much. Each of us is a beloved child of God, wonderfully made, just as we are. Our confidence in Christ Jesus calls us to work with all God’s people to transform our communities, so welcome can be a lived experience in our congregations and in the world.
The image on the below is from Carleton College Gender and Sexuality Center, on Using Pronouns. For more learning, head to https://www.carleton.edu/gender-sexuality-center/students/pronoun/
To learn more helpful tips about pronouns, check out our "Lutheran Introduction to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, & Gender Expression" resource, available for $2.25 from our eStore.