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Pronouns: Why Do They Matter?


Have you ever thought about how pronouns are connected to our well-being?

When others call us by the correct name, complement our outfit or hairstyle, or use our correct pronouns—we’re experiencing gender affirmation. Gender affirmation means that others acknowledge and respect our gender identity, or how we express our true selves. Studies show that gender affirmation can reduce depression, improve self-esteem, and create a better quality of life for transgender or gender non-conforming individuals.

Every time you use someone’s correct pronouns, you affirm their identity, encourage authenticity, and help build an inclusive and supportive culture. If you don’t know which pronoun to use when referring to someone else, here’s what you can do:

1. Listen

Listen to the pronouns others use when referring to the individual. People who know the person may likely use the correct pronoun.


2. Introduce Yourself

If you have not yet met the individual, be proactive in introducing yourself with your name and pronouns. This gives the other person an opportunity to share their own name and pronouns.


3. Ask

In introductions, it is also okay to ask the individual how they would like to be addressed. For example, you might say, “Hi, my name is Sarah. I use she/her pronouns. How should I refer to you?”


4. Keep it Optional

Sharing pronouns should be a voluntary activity, as some individuals may not be ready to do so.


Learn more about pronouns at MyPronouns.org.

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