The gender a person may be perceived as might not align with the gender with which they identify. Pronouns such as she/her, he/him, they/them, xe/xim or ze/zim are vitally important to a person's identity, and getting these right is a matter of dignity and respect.

To help create an inclusive environment, you could seek to introduce your pronouns as you introduce yourself, both verbally and in written forms where you may introduce your name. This helps to remind people that the pronouns a person uses may be different from those they present as, and cannot be assumed.

Using the pronoun 'they' is very useful when a person's identity or gender is not known. If you're unsure of a person's pronouns, take your lead from them and the pronouns they use. Stick to gender neutral language in text and speech when addressing groups of people, for example in policies or speeches (avoiding phrases such as 'ladies and gentlemen', for instance). If you're unsure of someone's pronouns, politely ask upon meeting after introducing your own pronouns.

If you notice someone using the wrong pronouns about another individual, just gently correct them – for example, 'oh, just to let you know, Julia uses the pronouns they/them'.

It's important to be mindful that not everybody will be comfortable stating their pronouns. Indeed, for trans or non-binary people particularly who may not yet be out, this could be difficult as it may induce gender dysphoria.

Gender-neutral pronouns include:

  • they/them/their/themselves
  • che/chim/chis/chimself
  • E/Em/Eir/Eirs/Emself
  • Per(person)/pers/perself
  • Xe/ hir/ hirs/ hirself