A Remedial Guide to Pronouns


GDJ via PIxabay

Using the correct pronoun to identify someone does not have to be scary!

You learn about pronouns as early as elementary school, maybe even earlier. You learn possessive pronouns, like his and hers and even theirs. 

It becomes an easy, normal part of your everyday speech. 

A Pronoun is not a Ghost

As you get to college and you meet more people, some of them may use any variety of pronouns. Don’t let this scare you, a pronoun is not a ghost. 

Some people may use she, others may use he and some more neutral pronouns like they or xe. 

Using someone’s pronouns is not only easy, but it’s also harmless. Referring to someone as the pronouns they give you will not only cause no personal harm to you, but people may like you a little more, too. 

How it Helps

Also, using someone’s pronouns may make them feel safe around you. Trans people get hurt a lot and using the correct pronouns when referring to them lets them know that you don’t intend to hurt them. 

Sometimes, you may hear a pronoun that confuses you, but simply using the pronoun and going on about your day doesn’t cause any trouble to you or anyone else. 

Effortless Human Decency

You also have to consider the amount of time you actually really use a pronoun to refer to someone. 

It would sound funny if you only ever referred to someone exclusively with pronouns. Sometimes, you might use a name, or a title. 

For example the sentence: “Elliot, he said he was going to the store in his car to buy his groceries” is a little bit of a mouthful and in general you’d probably just say “Elliot is going grocery shopping” 

If you don’t fully understand a pronoun there are plenty of resources online that can help.

That, Ser, is not my Burden of Proof!

Keep in mind, however, that trans people and people who don’t conform to gender standards, don’t really owe you an explanation of their identity. Doing the research yourself is what will help the most if you don’t quite understand. 

But the research is the hard part, actually using the pronouns is probably the easiest thing you’ll ever do. 

And hey, you may even make yourself a friend.