Pronoun Resources

At the Center for Diversity and Inclusion we believe in creating an inclusive environment for all students, staff and faculty. Some people don't feel that the traditional gender binary pronouns [she/her, he/him] fit their gender identities. Transgender, gender non-conforming and other gender-variant folks may choose to use different pronouns.

Which pronoun should I use?

If you are beginning a conversation with someone, try introducing yourself with your pronouns. For example, you could say, 'Hi my name is Maria. I'm from Ohio and I use she/her/hers pronouns.'

You could also ask a person:

  • How would you like to be addressed?
  • What pronouns would you like me to use to refer to you?

If you don't know the person, or are unsure, it is usually best to use gender neutral pronouns until you know.

'I'm not transgender, so why introduce myself with my pronouns?'

Introducing yourself with your pronouns can often make it safer and more comfortable for others who might not necessarily use 'traditional' pronouns to come out in that space. Introducing yourself with your pronouns is an effective way to be an active ally to trans, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming folks.

What if I make a mistake?

In most cases if the mistake is made in the moment and you realize it, try correcting yourself by saying,

"I'm sorry, I meant to say the book belongs to them not him."

If you realize the mistake later, you can try apologizing to the person and let them know that you will be more diligent next time.

What to Avoid

  • Never refer to a person as 'it' (unless they specifically ask you to). 'It' or 'he-she' are offensive terms used against the transgender and gender non-conforming communities.
  • You might hear she/her pronouns referred to as female pronouns, and he/him pronouns referred to as male pronouns. However, because everyone who uses these pronouns might not identify as 'female' or 'male' it is genuinely a good practice to avoid categorizing these pronouns in this way.

When should I correct others?

Everyone is different. Some people may not want a lot of attention around the use of their pronouns. However, that doesn't mean you can't correct someone if they are consistently mispronouncing a friend, student or colleague. If you hear someone consistently using the wrong pronoun for a person, try correcting them gently. For example, "Actually I think Kyle uses he and him pronouns. And yes, I did think his speech was excellent"

Pronouns can be new and a challenge for some people to remember at first. People can make mistakes, but the best way to show support as an ally is to keep practicing. For additional resources, check these out:

Pronoun Chart

Subject Object Possessive Adjective Possessive Pronoun Reflexive
He He smiled I told him His hands clapped That is his He told himself
She She smiled I told her Her hands clapped That is hers She told herself
They They smiled I told them Their hands clapped That is theirs They told themselves
Ze & Hir Ze smiled (Pronounced 'zee') I told hir ('heer') Hir hands clapped That is hirs Ze told Zirself

Email Signature

One way to show your support is to add your own pronouns in your email signature. For example:

she, her, hers
Assistant Director
Center for Diversity and Inclusion
merrillm1@xavier.edu T 513-745-1029

Xavier University
3800 Victory Pkwy, Cincinnati, OH 45207