Pronouns Matter to Everybody
  • Everyone has pronouns
  • Cisgender people have pronouns, too
  • Most children are aware of gender and pronouns between 3-5 years of age
Misgendering is Harmful
  • Most cultures have a long tradition of using misgendering as a way to humiliate someone by indicating they’re performing gender incorrectly, and therefore are “less than” a “real man” or “real woman”
  • “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is factually incorrect
  • Although your intentions may be good, your words can have a negative impact on others
10 things you are actually saying when you ignore someone’s gender pronouns:
  1. I know you better than you know yourself.
  2. I would rather hurt you repeatedly than change the way I speak about you.
  3. Your sense of safety is not important to me.
  4. Your identity isn’t real and shouldn’t be acknowledged.
  5. I want to teach everyone around me to disrespect you.
  6. Offending you is fine if it makes me feel more comfortable.
  7. I can hear you talking, but I’m not really listening.
  8. Being who you truly are is an inconvenience to me.
  9. I would prefer it if you stopped being honest with me.
  10. I am not an ally, a friend, or someone you can trust.
The Pronouns of Modern English
Some Pronouns That People Use
Practical Applications
  • Avoid assuming anyone’s gender
  • Feel free to ask people when you meet them what pronouns they use
  • Feel free to include your pronouns when introducing yourself to people
  • Feel free to put your pronouns in your email signature, on nametags, on social media, on zoom, on your website, etc.
  • Pronouns are not a whim, phase, or “preferred” usage for cisgender people; Trans and nonbinary people deserve the same consideration
  • Practice “they/them” or other nonbinary/gender neutral pronouns
  • Advocate for the removal of unnecessarily gendered language
  • Advocate for organizational and medical record systems that encompass sex AND gender, or sex assigned at birth/gender assigned at birth and current gender if different, and current “use name” and pronouns if different from gender marker on legal ID
  • Give yourself permission to make mistakes
Gender colors

WashU Policies

Did you know that Wash U. has a preferred name policy?