Gender & Pronouns
We at WMWC believe in creating safe(r) spaces for transgender, nonbinary and otherwise gender diverse folks to come together to co-create magical community. Gender is a wide open constellation, and human animals can have all kinds of gender identities. We see this as a magical and special gift. We ask that you enter into WMWC space with this important grounding, and hope you will be ready and willing to meet new friends who might be different than you. If this is new for you, please know that this is a space for you to engage with your growing edges in magical community.
Below is a brief overview of the importance of respecting people’s pronouns, as well as some examples of how the grammar works.
Below that are a list of resources for you to explore.
Access needs for trans and queer people can include having their gender identity respected, which includes having their preferred pronouns used.
Pronouns are the parts of speech we use when we refer to each other. In English, these include
she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs, it/it/its, and many others, including xe/xir/xirs, ze/hir/hirs, fey/fem/feyres, ey/em/eirs.
The possibilities are endless, which we think is pretty magical. Since any person could have any of these pronouns, it’s best to ask the person directly; if you don’t know, using “they” is largely considered acceptable until you can find out. Using “it” for a person whose pronouns you don’t know is unacceptable.
Here’s a great phrase to use to introduce yourself: “Hi, my name is ______ and my pronouns are _/_/_. ” Example: “Hi, my name is Rainbow, and my pronouns are xe/xir/xirs.”
In this example, Rainbow doesn’t need to give any more information about xir gender! If you don’t understand how to use xir pronouns, consider asking politely for some examples of how to use them in a sentence, and let xir know you’ll practice ’til you get it right!
When people give their pronouns like that, they are explaining how to use them grammatically:
The first part tells you how to ask “Who is __?” she/ze/xe/fey …
The second part tells you how to ask “Is this ___ pencil?” her/hir/xir/feyre …
The third part tells you how to answer “Yes, it’s ___” hers/hirs/xirs/feyres/ …
Singular they/them/theirs, often given in that form (but can also be expressed following the rules above as they/their/them), is often used like this “Who are they? Is this their pencil? Yes, it’s theirs.
Pronouns help us follow the rule of treating other people as they’d like to be treated. If we’re cisgender (which means that we identify gender-wise as the sex we were assigned at birth, or in other words, we are not transgender), then giving our pronouns really helps normalize the practice. It’s an everyday way to help support access for trans and gender nonconforming folks.
Please, when you introduce yourself, give your name and pronouns. Also, please avoid saying “I use masculine/feminine pronouns” or saying “I’m a woman/man/etc”. Using he/him/his doesn’t have to be connected to masculinity, nor does being a man tell me what pronouns you want me to use for you.
You can give extra information if you like, but try not to put people on the spot about providing the same level of information as you do; that may not be comfortable. If someone does not want to disclose their pronouns, please do not force them to; but if you are cisgender and this feels weird mostly because it’s new, please try to go out of your comfort zone to help others and give your pronouns.
1. 7 Ways to Make Your Language More Transgender and Nonbinary Inclusive by Lily Wasserman
3. Pronouns & Misgendering from The Body is Not an Apology
4. Pronouns Matter by Sarah Gardiner
6. Pronoun Dressing Room – a website for practicing pronouns!
Have more resources you like? Send them our way!