Gender-neutral or non-binary pronouns are used when a person doesn’t know the gender of the person about whom they speak OR when a person requests a non-binary pronoun in reference to themself.
Typically, when someone does not know the gender of the person, “they” and its variants are used. There is a debate about the grammatical correctness of the singular “they”, but many argue that it is, indeed, a correct singular pronoun. In this post, I included resources about that debate, so I will not get into that here.
When someone uses a non-binary pronouns because “she” or “he”, and their variants, do not fit their needs, there are a lot of options that can be used! However, many people do not know these options, so I thought I would compile some resources for you!
- Wiki: includes some examples from languages, including historical English
- “Wikitionary: List of protologisms by topic/third person singular gender neutral pronouns” —- includes this chart with usage examples (at the page, to which the chart links, the image is not in image format, so should be accessible).
- Aether Lumina: expansive FAQ on gender-neutral pronouns and examples
- wiseGEEK: just some more info about what gender-neutral pronouns are and their histories
- Gender Neutral Pronoun: includes the below chart (at the page, to which the chart links, the image is not in image format, so should be accessible) with the most commonly used pronouns. Also includes further descriptions of pronouns and this page (which includes several further resources and networks).
To be respectful, it is always important to use the pronouns someone prefers. If you don’t understand them, learn! Pronouns may not seem like a big deal to you, but they may be to someone else.
cross-posted to Tumblr