With any person you meet, in addition to asking their name, we recommend asking their preferred pronouns. Someone’s preferred pronouns are how they would like to be referenced in conversation. For example, you would ask a student their preferred pronouns, or what pronouns they use. If the student says, “I use they/them pronouns” you can solidify that in your mind the same way you would remember their name.
They and them, or the less common gender neutral pronoun ze, are pretty easy to use once you understand the basics.
They/them/theirs: They are going somewhere. I have a gift for them . This jacket is
Ze/hir/hirs: “ Ze is a writer and wrote that book hirself . Those ideas are hirs .” Ze/zir/zirs pronouns: “ Ze is a writer and wrote that book zirself . Those ideas are zirs .”
Pronunciation: Please note that “ze” is usually pronounced with a long “e” and that “hir” and its forms are usually pronounced like the English word “here.” Instead of ze/hir pronouns, some people go by "ze/zir" pronouns because of the more consistent pronunciation and spelling. For more information: www.mypronouns.org/how