How do I ask someone what pronouns they use?

Try asking: “What pronouns do you use?” or “Can you remind me what pronouns you use?” It can feel awkward at first, but it is not half as awkward as making a hurtful assumption.

If you are asking as part of an introduction exercise and you want to quickly explain what gender pronouns are, you can try something like this: “Tell us your name, where you come from, and your pronouns. That means the pronouns that you use in reference to yourself. For example, I’m Xena, I’m from Amazon Island, and I like to be referred to with she, her, and hers pronouns. So you could say, ‘she went to her car’ if you were talking about me.”

It is important to remember that by asking everyone you encounter which pronouns they use, you can help create a more normalized and safe way for others to share their pronouns, which they may not have been able to do before.

However, some closeted people may not be ready to publicly share their pronouns, so if someone does not supply them in front of a group, try asking in a more private setting. Asking someone “can I use these pronouns for you in front of other people?” is a good way of making sure you do not accidently out or misrepresent someone.