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preferred pronoun

Speech

noun

We would recommend adding a content warning when speaking about this term. Pleaseread the guidance on how and when to warn people before using this term in any context.

a word that substitutes for a noun, in particular, a person's name; a person's pronouns does not necessarily align with their gender presentation or their gender identity; a person gets to say what pronouns they and others use to refer to them; pronouns can be fluid based on context and presentation and change over time.

Issues

Preferred pronoun can imply that this is merely what is preferred rather than what is real. Using this can reinforce the idea that someone's pronouns are a choice rather than what is true for them or it's merely a preference and that you can use whatever pronouns you'd like for them.

Impact

Preferred pronouns can delegitimise pronouns of trans and non-binary people in particular, especially when their pronouns are wrongly assumed to be different than they are or neopronouns that are less commonly known. Delegitimising their pronouns delegitimes aspects of their identity, reinforces transmisia and non-binary erasure, and leads to harm against them.

Usage Tip

Use pronouns instead.

Alt Words

  • pronoun

You may want to add a content warning before discussing or showing imagery involving this topic, as it is a topic that can elicit unnecessary harm through inducing negative feelings, anxiety, or trauma.

Content warnings usually take the form of "Content warning: preferred pronoun" or "CW: preferred pronoun. We recommend the former when possible.

Content warnings should be given at the earliest possible opportunity. Examples of where you can do this are:

  • Articles under the byline, before content
  • Videos (with proper audio descriptions)
  • Photographs (with proper alt text)
  • Podcasts (before topic, in transcript)
  • Books (introductory page, summary)
  • Conference talks/webinars
  • Start of social media posts including this term
  • Social media posts with a link to content including this term

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